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New Members Printables – Bark Study, January Backyard and Birds

Printables for Members January 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

New this month in the Member’s Library:

1. Bark Study – Up Close: This is the perfect place to record your winter tree study as you focus on the bark.

2. Know Your Own Backyard – January: Use this notebook page to record a sketch and some details after you complete a backyard nature study. This is the focus of the January 2017 newsletter and you will find many ideas to help you get started.

3. January and February Bird List Notebook Page: This is for your January and February bird nature journal entry. We love to keep track of our winter birds and this is a simple chart that you can use to keep a running record of birds you observe in your own backyard.

For a complete list of member’s printables, click the button below for a printable list.

Printables for Members Button
Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section. You can download a complete list of printables available to members here:

Printables Current List January 2017

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Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter – January 2017 Backyard Nature Ideas

HNS Newsletter January 2017 Backyard Nature Cover

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter

January 2017 – Backyard Nature Ideas


Please read the following explanation outlining how to get this month’s newsletter.

The newsletter link is not in this email but will come separately. There may be a delay in your receiving the email so please don’t email me until the second day of the month if you haven’t received the link on the first. For some reason, some email providers take longer to receive the newsletter email.

If you don’t receive the separate email with the download link, you probably aren’t subscribed to the blog yet. This will take less than a minute to do if you follow the steps below.

If you are a subscriber and you haven’t received your newsletter email yet, check your SPAM inbox. Some subscribers have found the email buried in SPAM inbox.

Handbook of Nature Study Subscribe Now

If you need to subscribe:

  • You will need to go to the Handbook of Nature Study, look to the top right corner for the box to type in your preferred email address, and then confirm the email that comes to your email inbox.
  • Once you subscribe, you will receive a thank you email from me with the download link for the current month’s newsletter.

This month’s newsletter link will be available only during the month of December so be sure to download it before 1/31/17.

Remember! All of the archived and current newsletters are available as part of the Ultimate Naturalist Library…every level!

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter January 2017 cover button

Contents of this edition of the newsletter include:

  • This month we are focusing on finding something in our own backyard for nature study. I have written an article sharing subjects that might be right outside your back door and then a plan for following up with some of the Outdoor Hour Challenges available on the website archives.
  • There is a new article from Shirley Vels (from Under an English Sky) that tells how she uses her kitchen window as a way to view the natural world.
  • From the archives: There are two articles I wrote that explain how we created a “wild side” in our yard as a nature “laboratory” and another article that talks about creating sensory experiences in your own backyard.
  • January Planning Page for Mom – Much more than just a planner page, this is full of nature journal ideas, a short challenge for parents, links to the up-coming challenges, and ideas for using the archives.
  • Printables: This month I have mined the archives to find a nature study grid and bookmark for you to print and use. Plus, there is a brand new nature journal topper just perfect for this month’s nature study topic..winter backyard study.

Resources for your Nature Library: I have started to build a nature library store on Amazon that will feature by category my favorite nature study books and resources. Take a look and see if there is anything you would like to put on your wish list for your family’s nature study library: Handbook of Nature Study Nature Library Suggestions on Note this is my affiliate store to items I personally recommend and have read or seen in person.

Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter 2016 More Nature Study We will be using the More Nature Study – Winter ebook starting on January 13, 2017. You can find it in the Ultimate Naturalist Library.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – December Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Extraordinary in the Ordinary – December Edition

Find the Extraordinary in the Ordinary I challenge you to find five ordinary things in your backyard or in your everyday life that you can study and learn something more about. Find something extraordinary in something you have come to think of as ordinary and usual, so usual that you may not even notice it anymore.

You may remember that we have done this challenge in the past two times. Please be inspired by both of these entries to complete your own extraordinary nature walk this month with your children.

Additional Printable Notebook Page

Notebook Page: Extraordinary in the Ordinary – December

Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #8. Take along a magnifying lens on your Extraordinary in the Ordinary walk. Find something to examine more closely…even ice, frost, water from a puddle, the bark of a tree, or snow. Find something to be amazed by and then complete the notebooking page in the ebook.   

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – November World Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge November World Observations

Outdoor Hour Challenge
November World Nature Observations

November is a transitional season month in our part of the world…not exactly autumn and not quite winter yet. Use this week’s outdoor time to create an impression of your November World…create word pictures and enjoy the time outside with your children.

You may want to use some of the ideas in these challenges:
November World 2010 – Familiar Spot
Signs of Autumn – Challenge and Notebook Page

November World Notebook Page
(from the November 2011 Newsletter)

Have some fun completing this challenge and then record your November World observations using this simple notebook page.

November World – Know Your Own Backyard Notebook Page

Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #2-Using Your Words. Create some lovely word pictures after your outdoor time for this challenge. Use the accompanying notebook page to record your words or use a blank journal page.    

Note: This nature study challenge can be found in the Autumn 2010 ebook.

If you would like to own this ebook, it is part of the Ultimate Naturalist Library for members. You can find more details on how to get your own membership here: Join Us!

Autumn 2010 Cover ImageUltimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

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Great American Backyard Campout – Nature Study Style

It’s a whole different world…your backyard at night.

I encourage you to open up a new level of nature study, done at night under the stars in combination with the Great American Backyard Campout!

Check the National Wildlife Federation website for dates and events in your local area: Great American Backyard Campout.

Watch an introductory video!
June 23, 2012 – The National Wildlife Federation is sponsoring the Great American Backyard Campout and you are invited. From their website,”Spend the night under the stars with National Wildlife Federation and take your family’s first step into a lifetime filled with healthy, outdoor fun.”

If you have been reluctant to try camping, this is an easy way to test it out with your family closer to home. You may just end up liking it! Who knows where you will take your tent next?

My boys put their tent on the back deck during the summer.

I know that sleeping outdoors can seem scary and unfamiliar but overcoming the fear of being outside at night is worth the effort. You will realize there are some amazing things going on between sunset and sunrise right in your own backyard!

Combine nature study with an overnight backyard campout 
and you will build family memories that last a lifetime.

Prepare with some nature study ideas from the Outdoor Hour Challenge!

Pick a challenge, read the pages in the Handbook of Nature Study, and then look for an opportunity to apply what you learned. Keep it fun and always, always, always follow your child’s lead if they find something they are interested in. You can follow up with a library book or a Google search in the morning.

Bring a few art supplies outdoors and your nature journal so you are prepared if you find something of interest. If you have a nature related storybook or a favorite outdoor adventure book, bring it out for some after dark reading with a flashlight.

More than anything else, be aware of your surroundings and use all your senses, when you can’t rely on your vision…listen, feel, and smell the nighttime in your backyard. Try to spend a few minutes just sitting quietly in the dark if your children are able and see what you notice. Even a few seconds of quiet is good for younger children.

Nature Study - Three Steps to a Better Experience
If you are new to nature study, you may wish to download and print out my free nature study guide:
How about a free printable notebook page?

As part of this great event, I am teaming up with five other bloggers to promote getting outside and having fun with your children. All of us have put together some exciting, informative, and easy ideas to get you started planning your own Great American Backyard Campout for this coming weekend.

The tips in these posts will apply to any camping you do with your children so make sure to bookmark, Pin, and promote these links! We even started a Camping With Kids Pinterest board for you to follow and glean even more ideas as the summer goes by. I know for my regular readers the list below includes a few new faces and I encourage you to click over and visit these awesome bloggers who take getting outdoors with their children seriously. Leave them a comment and let them know you popped over from the Handbook of Nature Study.

  1. Adventure Tykes – Melissa
  2. Go Explore Nature – Debi
  3. Hodgepodge – Tricia
  4. Spell Outloud – Maureen
  5. Tales of a Mountain Mama – Amelia


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Newsletter Challenge: Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Extraordinary Defined: 
Going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary. 
Noteworthy or remarkable. 

The Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter for May 2012 builds on the theme of Noticing Nature in the Everyday. One of the activities from the newsletter is to find something extraordinary in the ordinary….by using the May Grid and Printable Bookmark. I encourage you to spend time in your own backyard, helping your children find something of interest.
Extraordinary in the Ordinary notebook page button
I wanted to expand that a bit with this post and offer a printable notebook page to use to follow-up your Extraordinary in the Ordinary outdoor time. I challenge you to find at least one thing to take a closer look and to then complete a notebook page or nature journal showing what you learned. My family will be participating in this challenge too!

See if you can find something extraordinary right under your noses.

You can see a past example from my post: Extraordinary in the Ordinary.

Free Printable Notebook Page: Extraordinary in the Ordinary – In Your Own Backyard.

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First Day of Summer 2010: Know Your Own Yard

I know that yesterday was the first official day of summer but for some reason I forgot to publish this post so you are receiving it a day late. Perhaps it was that my laptop died and I have been working from a different computer….in any case, enjoy the notebook page and your second day of summer.

Note: I am hoping to continue working on a series of “Know Your Own Yard” posts over the summer and perhaps even into the autumn.

Sunflower with petals

When all else fails, know your own backyard.

Take a few minutes on this first day of summer and explore with your children.

Here is a bonus notebook page for you to use to follow up your outdoor time!

First Day of Summer notebook page

First Day of Summer Notebook Page – Free Download!