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Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Homeschool Nature Walk

We are continuing our festive theme of finding Christmassy reds and greens in nature. This homeschool nature outdoor hour challenge includes the greens of winter with a moss and lichen nature walk. Here is how you can enjoy a greens of winter nature walk too!

Take a Walk to Find Greens of Winter in a Moss and Lichen Homeschool Nature Walk

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk

It was a cold, frozen day but if we stopped and looked closely….there was beauty all around us.

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk

These lichens are just so interesting! Did you know that lichens are not plants at all? The are complex organisms formed by a symbiotic relationship between fungus and an algae. They will certainly make for a fascinating, in-depth study!

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk

Even on the tree branches it was beautiful. So many shades of green!

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk

After a bracing walk hunting for these wonderful non-vascular plants, an afternoon spent painting in your nature journal may just be the perfect way to wrap up the day. You might even decide to paint while warming up next to a warm fire.

Not up for an outdoor walk due to the weather? We share details on Taking Your Winter Nature Studies Indoors.

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk
Shirley’s Nature Journal from Building a Household of Faith

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Next week we start our first Outdoor Hour Challenge (OHC) of the new year. We will be looking at winter tree silhouettes. The nature study plans for 2022 and the corresponding ebooks are available for our members to download. Be sure to download in preparation of an exciting new year of outdoor hour challenges.

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk - Continuing the theme of festive colour found in nature, join us on a greens of winter moss and lichen nature walk.

If you are not yet a member but would like to join and receive access to all the curriculum books, the interactive nature study calendar and fresh new posts every Friday then please consider joining the homeschool nature study membership now.

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Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge on Winter Weeds? Be sure to tag @outdoorhourchallenge on Instagram and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

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Winter Homeschool Nature Study: Green And Red Challenge

We decided to repeat last year’s Winter Challenge on a recent hike. This homeschool nature study is perfect for the season.

Our Winter Homeschool Nature Study

We had planned on leaving in the early afternoon but it actually started to rain so we postponed it for a few hours. The rain stopped eventually and it was amazing how beautiful everything was as we hiked along the trail.

The colors were vivid and we noticed a few outstanding things to share.

Green and Red Homeschool Nature Study

Green And Red In Nature

We found some beautiful green moss covering stones and trees. Isn’t so vibrant and bright? It stands out from the winter grey making it hard to pass by. If you come across some moss be sure to encourage your children to take a closer look through a magnifying glass.

Green and Red Homeschool Nature Study

Bright red berries on bushes along the way. Red berries add a splash of color to stark and frosty scenes when most of the trees have lost their leaves. They are a vital food source for animals and birds during these ‘hungry’ months. All the berries you see on your walk have grown and developed in autumn.

Interestingly, studies have shown that birds choose the order they eat the berries carefully to ensure that they have as much food as possible to last the winter.

Manzanita 2
Finally, we found some Manzanita wood. Isn’t it just so vividly red after it gets wet?

Finding green and red in our homeschool nature study was a wonderful way to blend learning with a celebration of the holiday season!

Green and Red Homeschool Nature Study

You Are Invited to Join Us!

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The World of Winter Homeschool Nature Study

It’s our Winter Wednesday challenge once again and time to bring the world of winter into your homeschool nature study.

Winter Wednesday - The World of Winter Homeschool Nature Study

Winter Wednesday – Week 1 The World of Winter in your Homeschool Nature Study

1. Read chapter one Discover Nature in Winter. While you are reading you can highlight any portions that you would like to share with your children. I also like to write in the margins any topics and ideas that come to me as I read.

2. Our family is going to complete the winter color activity on page 14 and illustrated on page 17. Please feel free to complete any of the suggested activities in chapter one of the book and then share your experiences in a blog entry.

If you do not have the book and you would like to follow along with the activity, here are some basic instructions.

Finding The Colors Of Winter In Your Nature Study

The bareness of the trees and the appearance of a white snowy landscape help to sharpen the other colors of winter. Find a few minutes this week to notice the colors you can observe in your own backyard, even if it is from your window.

Some Ideas to Get You Started In Your Homeschool Study This Winter:

  • Red berries on a holly bush
  • Greens and yellows of lichen
  • Bright blue of a blue jay or the sharp reds of the cardinal
  • Yellows and oranges of the sunrise or sunset
  • Blue sky and white clouds

Keep track of the colors you observe this week in your nature journal.

Winter Wedneday Curriculum

Ready to get started? Grab your FREE Getting Started in Homeschool Nature Study Guide with 10 free Outdoor Hour Challenges.

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Once a Month Nature Journal Project: Add Color to Your Nature Journal

Once a Month Nature Journal Project

Add Color to Your Nature Journal

-From the Archives

This school year, I’m going to be revisiting the Once a Month Nature Journal Project here on my blog. Each month I’ll share one of the suggestions from the series for you to use with your family.

I know what it’s like to get stuck when starting a new nature journal page. The blank slate is a little daunting to many of us, especially those new to the idea of nature journaling.

Challenge yourself to give each idea a try!

If you need more inspiration, I created a Pinterest board that gathers dozens of actual nature journal pages from participants.

Once a Month Nature Journal Project Use Color @handbookofnaturestudy

Let’s start off with the Add Color prompt from the Once a Month Nature Journal Project. Click the graphic above to go to the original blog entry and read the suggestions for adding color

Outdoor Hour Challenge Fall Color Walk @handbookofnaturestudy

Do you have some fall color to recreate in your nature journal? You may be interested in clicking over to the Fall Color Outdoor Hour Challenge.

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Color Cards For Your Winter Color Study
Use these color word cards to stimulate a fun nature study related activity. See how many of the colors you can find during your winter color hunt.

TIPS: These cards can be printed on cardstock or cut and pasted to index cards. If you only have a black and white printer, have your children color the words or the border with markers before going outside.
Printable Color Word Cards

 

Complete list of all the Once a Month Nature Journal Project Ideas

January – Nature Journal With a Photo

February- Nature Journal Out Your Window

March – Use Numbers

April – Collections

May – Signs

June Sketch Outdoors

July – Using Your 5 Senses

August – Make a List

September – Colors

October – Add a Map

November – Trace an Item

December- Make a Wish List

 

 

 

 

 

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter World of Colors

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Outdoor Hour Challenge

World of Winter and Winter Colors– January 2018

From the Archives and the Winter Wednesday ebook

 

Use the ideas and suggestions in the challenge linked above to make some winter color observations with your children. If you have access to the Winter Wednesday ebook, you’ll have a notebook page to complete after your outdoor time.

Additional Ideas from the ebook:

  • If you have snow, bring a few cupfuls inside and let it melt. Use the water to watercolor a winter scene for your nature journal.
  • For older children, think of some similes to write in your nature journal that relate to winter. For instance: The snow was like crystals in the sunshine. Here is a pdf to get you started: Snow Similes.

 

Winter Wednesday ebook NOtebook pages

Join us for the Winter Wednesday series of challenges here every FRIDAY. You can find them under the winter tab on the blog or if you have an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, you can find the ebook there for downloading.

 

 

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Late Autumn Color – From My Window

Said the leaves upon the branches,

One sunny autumn day,

“We have finished all our work, and now

We can no longer stay;

So our gowns of red and yellow,

And our cloaks of sober brown

Must be worn before the frost comes,

And we go rustling down…”

-by Margaret E. Sangster

 

I have been attempting to take a photo of my front yard from my office window each month for comparing. This was an idea that came from Alex over at Life on a Canadian Island when she shared her photos each month with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. I looked back through my images and I found that I have been fairly successful in capturing an image each month. I thought today would be a great day to share a few of the pictures with you because they show the autumn colors we have finally experienced.

March 2015 window photoThis is from March 2015 back when everything looked so neat a tidy. You can see the daffodils and the forsythia are the stars of the show.

august 2015 window photo (7)This one is from August 2015. The butterfly bushes and the sage have taken over and are created shelter for the birds, bees, and butterflies.

 Monthly Window Photo November 2015This was from the beginning of November 2015. The dogwood tree, the redbud, and the butterfly bushes are all starting to take on their autumn colors.

Monthly Window Photo November 2015 (2)

This is the view out the other window in my office…looking out into the Chinese pistache trees. I love having these trees in our yard because there are many birds that are attracted to them at this time of the year. I get to see flickers, robins, starlings, and bluebirds as they hover and perch around the nutlets that are crimson red on this tree.

Monthly Window Photo Snow November 2015

Now this week we have had hail twice and it has changed the look of the view out my living room window. I spend lots of time observing the birdfeeders from this particular window and since we trimmed a few of the butterfly bushes and the lavender and the yarrow I have a clearer view of who is visiting.

If you would like to read more about starting a window study or any year long nature study, members can look at the July 2014 edition of the Handbook of Nature Study newsletter. There are quite a few ideas and suggestions in that issue. Or, you can start a year-long tree study by using the ideas in this entry: Four Seasons Tree Study Photo Project.

You might also like these nature color ideas:

Color Cards – These printable cards are perfect for younger students.

Signs of AutumnPrintable notebook page.

November World – November in your own backyard activities and printable.

 

 

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Our Spring Wildflowers – Bursting with Color

 Spring Wildflower Hike at Natural Bridge @handbookofnaturestudy

Our weather has dried up again after about twelve more inches of rain. We had a week of rainy wet skies which were much welcomed in our drought-restricted area. My garden is much happier!

My faithful readers know once the trails are dry and the sun warms the air that I itch to get outdoors for a good springtime explore. My husband and I carved out a whole day for a good hike…traveling out of our county, through another county, and arriving at a spot that we love to ramble down to the river. There were two cars in the parking lot at the trailhead but we never saw anyone until we were returning back up the trail much later in the day. I love that!

This time of year the hiking story is really about the wildflowers. You can hike along for a bit but you do need to stop and take a few photos along the way. Here are a few of the highlights. I know for many of you that spring has not yet arrived….so enjoy my images and dream of your springtime coming soon!

Blue Dicks Red Shack Wildflowers April 2014 (9)

The Blue Dicks or Wild Hyacinth is in full bloom at the top of the trail. As we began our hike, the slope from the parking lot down to the little ravine was dotted with pretty bluish/purple flowers.

Shooting Stars Red Shack Wildflowers April 2014 (10)

Another one of our regular early spring wildflowers is the Shooting Star. Once it starts blooming, you can be sure it is spring for sure and the days will get warmer.

Brown Bells or Brown Fritillary April 2014 Natural bridge hike (6)

I am pretty sure this is a new to me wildflower…I have seen something very similar but a different color. Using my field guide and the CalFlora site, it looks like this may be a Brown Bell or Brown Fritillary

Hounds Tongue April 2014 Natural bridge hike (25)

This is such a beautiful blue wildflower! There were several spots along the trail that had Hounds Tongue. We have this on our local trail as well and it is just starting to blossom for the early spring bloom.

Pretty Faces April 2014 Natural bridge hike (23)

This is a fairly common wildflower in our area, Golden Brodiaea or Pretty Face.

Caterpillar phacelia April 2014 Natural bridge hike (7)

This Caterpillar phacelia has such a unique looking flower that I never forget its name. It really does look like a caterpillar!

Coyote Creek Natural Bridge

Coyote Creek at the bottom of the trail, beyond the natural bridge, runs cool, clear, and fast over the marble rocks. It is a great place to sit a few minutes and listen to the birds singing and the insects buzzing. This is where we observed our new spring bird, the Black Phoebe! 

Hopefully this is the start to a fantastic hiking season!

 

Did you know you can get access to all the archived newsletters (all 36 issues) with every level of membership?

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

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Yosemite in Winter – Winter Colors

We finally finished our four seasons visits to Yosemite National Park. This was our winter trip that turned out to not be so wintery at all. The temperatures were in the 50’s and we enjoyed sunshine for most of the trip.

We decided to take a hike on the north side of the Yosemite Valley where the sun is shining. The Upper Yosemite Falls Trail is just across from the lodge so that is where we began. There was very little water in the falls so we chose to go up the trail about a mile and a half and see the view from Columbia Rock.

We did see a few hikers on the trail but during the winter there are very few people to be found in the park. I think this year there are even less than normal because Badger Pass ski resort is closed so there aren’t even skiers to be found in the valley. At Columbia Rock we met with a family from England, two young college students from Korea, and a Croatian girl.

Here is the view from Columbia Rock overlooking a meadow and the lodge. In the distance Half Dome looms up and dominates the vista. We stood for a bit and gazed at the beauty and then hiked back down the four dozen or so switchbacks to the valley floor.

We started off the hike with lots of layers and by the time we reached our destination we were in shirt sleeves and sweating. It was really warm in the sun on the exposed trail.

The first of my colors in the winter color challenge is black. The Common Ravens are the bird most commonly seen and heard in this area of the park. They are black AND iridescent purple in the sunlight. Their loud and clear CRUCK CRUCK CRUCK can easily be identified. We also saw and heard other birds during our stay like the Steller’s Jay, the Nuthatch, and the Acorn Woodpecker.

In the Village you can see the browns of the trees, acorns on the ground, and the evergreens to make a winter color palette. In this photo you can see Yosemite Falls in the distance, nearly dry. As the day wears on, the falls flow a little more but in the mornings they are nearly dry.

Here is a little green lichen I spotted along the trail, landing among pine needles. The bright green really pops out this time of year when the world is filled with grays, browns, and blacks.

In spots where the sun doesn’t shine, the snow is still seen in patches. This meadow has lots of winter weeds showing through and I spotted some milkweed left from the past season.

The second day we hiked to the Merced Grove of sequoia trees. These giants really stand out in the forest with their reddish bark and large trunks. We shared this forest with the trees for a bit, sitting quietly and reveling in their ancient history.

I tried to capture what the bark looks like close up…it is soft and squishy and shreds easily. Amazing.

My husband decided this was the best way to enjoy the sequoia’s beauty…looking up at their tall stature.

So ends a complete year of Yosemite National Park visits. It has been a wonderful experience personally for me to achieve a goal and to learn a little more about one of my favorite places on earth. I feel blessed to live so near such an awesome place to get outdoors and build memories with my family.

My husband and I celebrated our accomplishment with a little pizza and Half Dome California Wheat beer at the Yosemite Lodge. Perfect ending to a fantastic day, trip, and year.

You can read about our seasonal visits to Yosemite in these entries:
Yosemite in Spring – Waterfalls and Biking
Summer Trip to Yosemite – Hikes, Wildflowers, Rocks, and More
Yosemite Autumn Trip – Panorama Trail

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Color Nature Study

Winter Color Nature Study

This week we are going to be completing the World of Color challenge from the Winter Wednesday ebook. This challenge invites you and your family to take a walk outdoors and find some color in your winter world. Even if you have to complete this challenge from your window, it will help train your eyes to see the bursts of color that are out there if you look carefully enough.

Original Challenge: The World of Color.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the Discover Nature in Winter book to use along with the challenge. Take the ideas listed in the blog post to complete a simple color hunt with your children and then follow up with an entry in your nature journal. The journal can be simply a list of colorful things you saw or a sketch of something your child found interesting. Make this a no-pressure challenge for your child.

There are a few other ideas in the ebook to try if you don’t want to go outside for this challenge.

Color Cards For Your Winter Color Study
Use these color word cards to stimulate a fun nature study related activity. See how many of the colors you can find during your winter color hunt.

TIPS: These cards can be printed on cardstock or cut and pasted to index cards. If you only have a black and white printer, have your children color the words or the border with markers before going outside.
Printable Color Word Cards

Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #1. This is the perfect challenge to just take a simple walk outdoors with your children as part of completing challenge #1. Make sure to follow up your outdoor time with a discussion to find out one or two things your child would like to know more about. Don’t worry that you won’t know the answers to any questions they may have…just take the opportunity to learn together using internet resources or a trip to the library.

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Autumn Watercolor Nature Journal Idea

Up in the Desolation Wilderness, we enjoyed a walk along Lily Lake (see Glen Alpine Springs). The view said autumn and the sunshine felt glorious. Sitting on a rock for a few minutes, we were able to take in the scene and make an autumn afternoon memory.

We also took a long bike ride along the bike trail at South Lake Tahoe. The day was a perfect to be enjoying the colors, sights, and sounds of autumn. The aspens were past prime but there were other trees, shrubs, and ferns that contributed to the golden glow of the day.

We made a side trip to go view the Kokanee salmon that are spawning in Taylor Creek right now. No bears this year but we did see and hear three hawks and also observed signs of beaver activity.

I used fall colors to make a border and now I will journal my thoughts in the blank space.

I brought along my nature journal and watercolors and came up with a way to create a simple and easy journal page as we sat and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine. I chose my favorite fall colors, making an abstract border and then added a title box with my sky-blue color paint. Now that I am home and have a few minutes, I will journal our experiences during our hike and bike ride.

My tip for using watercolors in your nature journal – Keep it easy and fun…be inspired by your outdoor time.

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