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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Insect Leaf Miners and Rollers

Outdoor Hour Challenge Leaf Miners and Leaf Rollers Insect Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Leaf Miner and Leaf Roller Challenge from the Archives:Outdoor Hour Challenge – Leaf Miners and Rollers

and the More Nature Study – Autumn ebook.


We are going to start off our autumn nature study with one that will require some careful observations. The first time we did this challenge I was pleasantly surprised at how many subjects we found to look at as part of the leaf miner and leaf roller nature study ideas. There are videos in the archived challenge for you to view that will help you get started and know what you are looking for. Make sure to read the pages in the Handbook of Nature Study!

You may be interested in viewing our family’s entry from the original study: Searching for Leaf Miners and Leaf Rollers. You can see that we used a magnifying lens to get a good look at the leaf damage so you may want to do the same thing. Don’t forget that this month’s newsletter has ideas for studying insect homes: Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter September 2016.


Outdoor Hour Challenge Plans for Sept 16 to March 17 @handbookofnaturestudyNote: You do not need to purchase the ebooks to participate but they are handy to have for planning and for the regular and advanced notebook pages included in each one. Click the graphic at the bottom of this post to go over to check out the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy


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Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter – September 2016 Insect Homes

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter September 2016 cover

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter

September 2016 – Insect Study: Insect Homes


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.

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  • 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 September so be sure to download it before 9/30/16.

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

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter September 2016

Contents of this edition of the newsletter include:

  • This edition of the newsletter will focus mainly on insects and their homes. This is a more difficult topic but please don’t be intimidated. Read the newsletter for a variety of insect-related nature study ideas and lots of free printables.
  • This month I have reprinted from the More Nature Study Autumn ebook the Gall Dwellers Outdoor Hour Challenge. This will give you a real look at what a challenge in an ebook is like…please enjoy this freebie with your family when the opportunity arises.
  • September Nature Study Planning Page that gathers lots of ideas for this month’s nature study (including links to the four Friday OHC studies that will be coming up in September).
  • I wrote an article for this edition that includes the Insect Home Nature Journal Topper for you to use with your family.
  • Plus as a bonus, I am including the Insect Study Grid and Bookmark printable page from the archives.
  • Especially for younger students, I have included a coloring page for your insect study in this edition of the newsletter.

As you can see from the list above, I am back to a more full edition of the newsletter. I missed the freedom that having more pages allowed me to include a little of this and that to round out your nature study. Please let me know if there are things you would like to see in up-coming editions of the newsletter!

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 Plans for Sept 16 to March 17 @handbookofnaturestudyPlease click over and read the step by step instructions for using the Handbook of Nature Study and the Outdoor Hour Challenge in your nature study plans starting in September. Let me know if you have any questions.

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Leaf-Miner Study Updated and Some Acorns Too

Leaf Miner 1

Today we hit the jackpot with leaf-miners while we were taking a hike with the dog. We found a whole bunch of leaves with signs of leaf-miners…how exciting!
(Original post HERE and the OHC Challenge HERE)

Leaf Miner 2
We were amazed at how crazy the path is on some of the leaves. Curls and swirls and then along the edges, there seems to be no rhyme or reason.

Oaks and Acorns 1

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

We also were fascinated with the furry, fuzzy tops on these acorns. I like how they grow like twins on the branches of the oak tree.

Acorns and moss
I found a few on the ground along with some moss for a cute little acorn photo.

Just wanted to update our study with our latest finds.

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Searching for Leaf-Miners and Leaf-Rollers

Oak Leaves 2

We found quite a bit of leaf damage on the oaks in our backyard…nothing that really looked like leaf-miners though. We looked carefully which is part of what this challenge (More Nature Study #2 Leaf-Miners and Rollers) was all about.Taking time to really look and see the leaves opens up lots of interesting thoughts and ideas.  Who caused the damage? Were they nibbled by insects or something else like the birds that frequent our yard?

The preparation work from the Handbook of Nature Study really helped us with this challenge.

Leaf Rollers 2

We went around to the garden side of the yard and started to look at the shrubs there and we think we found several leaves that had been rolled up by insects. This one looks close to what we were looking for so we are going to assume it is our subject for this challenge. Amazing that I never noticed this leaf-rolling in our own backyard until now! What else am I missing?

Oak leaves

Now in the front yard we have a different kind of oak and we were able to see clearly some damage done by some insect…perhaps a leaf-miner. We couldn’t find any leaves that had insects working on them currently but these looked promising enough to bring a few inside to look at under the magnifying lens.

Leaf 2

Here is one image (through the magnifying lens) that was super pretty, almost looked like stained glass.When you hold the leaf up to the light as suggested in the Handbook of Nature Study it is even more beautiful. My husband was wondering what I was looking at and I had to share with him too. He was fascinated by our topic and since he spends lots of time outdoors as part of his job, he is going to keep an eye out for some more leaves to look at with the hand lens.

Leaf 1

Another image up-close at what we think may be what we were looking for this week.

So there you have it…our leaf-miner and leaf-roller study in our own yard. Amazing that we could find it right under out noses. I think that is the lesson I learned from reading the entries to the Blog Carnival for this challenge from different families… amazement that they could even find this subject so close to home.

If you haven’t taken the time to give this challenge a try yet, there is still plenty of time to do so. Make it an investigation after reading the information in the Handbook of Nature Study. Take your magnifying glass with you outdoors to look at the suggested plants (see Lesson 77 in the HNS).

Oak Galls
We also observed some oak galls which are covered in Lesson 79 in the Handbook of Nature Study. These are interesting to observe as well and surprising to most that they are actually signs of an insect.More Nature Study Button


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Outdoor Hour Challenge – More Nature Study #2 Leaf-Miners and Leaf-Rollers

Outdoor Hour Challenge Leaf Miners and Leaf Rollers Insect Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Here comes the second challenge in the new series of Outdoor Hour Challenges! I will be posting one new challenge each Friday and you are welcome to jump in and work through the challenges as you have time.

Leaf Miner 1

Inside Preparation Work:
1.Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 329-334 (Lessons 77 and 78). Pay special attention to the “Leading Thoughts” and the “Methods” sections in each lesson. These will give you hints and ideas for searching for Leaf-miners and Leaf-rollers.
2. Optional YouTube Video: Watch a leaf roller HERE. One short one showing it up close HERE.
3. Preview this YouTube video of a leaf miner at work: The Good, The Bad, the Ugly…Larva. Awesome! Watch it full screen if you dare.

  • Hints: Look on sumac, basswood, and witch hazel for leaf-rollers. We have found leaf-rollers on our crepe myrtle and coneflowers. For leaf-miners, look on nasturtium, columbine, lamb’s quarters, dock, and burdock. You may also try pine needles for yellow tips. We have found leaf-miners on oaks.

Outdoor Hour Time:
1. Go outside with the intention of looking for and observing some insects. Keep in mind the images of the leaf-miner and the leaf-roller. Look for signs of these kinds of insects on the leaves in your garden or in your neighborhood. There are many varieties of each kind of insect so you may wish to consult your field guide before you head out.
2. If you don’t find any insects to observe, take a few minutes of your Outdoor Hour time to examine various leaves with a hand-lens. Look for anything that has damaged the leaves and describe what it looks like. Many things can damage leaves besides insects.

Follow-Up Activity:
1. Insects are hard to identify but the point of this challenge is mainly to look for Leaf-miners and Leaf-rollers and how they use leaves during their life-cycle. If you can see the larva or the insect itself, you may have a good chance at identifying it. On the other hand, you may just need to talk about the behavior of this kind of insect and give the opportunity to sketch the leaf and your observations. You can use the accompanying notebook page for convenience (ebook users only).
2. Advanced Follow-Up: Read this link for more information on leaf rolling insects: Leaf Rollers on Ornamental and Fruit Trees ( UC Davis). Complete the Upper Level notebook page with your research (ebook users only).

More Nature Study Autumn

This challenge is part of the More Nature Study – Autumn series. All of the challenges are gathered into one ebook with notebooking pages (regular and for advanced students) and additional resources. You can gain access to this ebook by purchasing an Ultimate Naturalist membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. See the Join Us page by clicking the link at the top of the website for more information about what comes with your Ultimate membership.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy


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OHC Winter Insects and Hike With a Waterfall

We had almost given up trying to fit in a winter insect study but it was such a perfect day today to get outdoors that we took advantage. I whipped up some sandwiches, we jumped in the car, and we had a little picnic before we took a hike on our close-by and most familiar trail.

Oak with Moss
What impressed me the most as we started to hike was the greenness all around us!  The grasses, the mosses, and the ferns are what Crayola would call “spring green”. It felt good to get outside and hike…we saw a red-tailed hawk right above us and it was amazing! We heard robins and Western scrub jays as we went along, nice to hear the familiar spring sounds in the woods.

Deciduous Oak and Spring Sky
Then the sky and clouds captured my eye and the beauty made me stop to admire and try to get a good shot of just how beautiful the almost spring sky is in our neighborhood today. We had a hail storm around 5:30 AM today and then the storm passed and the clouds parted, revealing a bright blue sky.

So for our insect study I was hoping to find some oak galls or leaf miners and I was successful in finding one of those things.

Leaf Miner 1
Leaf miners are talked about in the Handbook of Nature Study starting on page 329 (Lesson 77).
“Among the most familiar of these are the serpentine miners, so called because the figure formed by the eating out of the green pulp of the leaf curves like a serpent…..The serpent-like marking and the blister-like blothces which we often see on leaves are made by the larve of insects which complete their growth by feeding upon the inner living substance of the leaf.”

Leaf damaged by insects
We saw evidence of other insects all around the trail when we stopped to look closely.

Insect on leaf
As I was taking these photos, I happened to see this guy. I have absolutely no idea what kind of insect it is but was great to observe him this afternoon, a sign of life in these woods.

Shooting Star Wildflowers
The next leg of the hike had some surprises in store for us. Like these very first of the season Shooting Stars!

Wildflower and Insect
And these colorful and cheery buttercups…added bonus….some small fly-like insect.

Manzanita and Oak Spring

I have been down this trail a hundred times and I haven’t ever noticed how nicely this manzanita is shaped. It must be pretty old because it is taller than most of the manzanita in this area and looks more like a tree than a bush. See the nice oak on the left all covered with spring moss?

Saxifrage just starting to sprout
On the way back up the trail we stopped to admire the waterfall and I was excited to see the early spring saxifrage beginning to sprout. Soon it will be blooming and I will know it is spring.

Kona at the Waterfall
Kona had to get in the water while she waited for me to finish my photo taking. She moved some rocks around in the water with her nose and got a drink.

3 7 11 Red Shack hike (17)
Here is the waterfall from the trail. This is looking up and there is a section below where we are so the sound of rushing water is heard from the parking place all the way down to where we turn around and come back up. It is one of those very relaxing and comforting sounds that we enjoy on this hike.

Red Insect
Here is a red insect I spotted while I was crouched down taking photos of the saxifrage. I don’t know what it is but it had wings and eventually flew away.

I think that wraps up our hike and our insects for our study. We are going to try to identify the red insect in the photo above and add it to our nature journals this week. What a great day outdoors! I think I have been color deprived because just seeing the few wildflowers, the greens of the grasses and mosses, and the colorful insect has brightened my mood. I think we all feel better.

I updated my last entry with a photo from last summer….we were at the redwood forest in Northern California. Click over and scroll down to see how small we are in comparison to the base of the tree!

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Insects – Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

Field Guides I have Used With My Family

Please note the above links are Amazon affiliate links to books I own and love!

Outdoor Hour Challenge Insect Nature Study Challenges Index @handbookofnaturestudy
NOTE: If the challenge is included an ebook, it is noted directly after the challenge. If you have an Ultimate Membership, you will be able to pull up the ebook and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your nature study.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

Ants – Spring ebook



Black Swallowtail – Spring Nature Study Continues


Caddisfly and Caddis worm – Summer Nature Study Continues

Cockroach – Autumn 2015

Crickets – Summer ebook and another cricket study

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Fireflies – Summer ebook

Gall Dwellers – More Nature Study Winter

Grasshoppers – Summer ebook


Insect Printables

Insect Study with Bug’s Eye View Printable

Katydids – Summer ebook

Lacewing – Summer Nature Study Continues coming soon


Leaf Miners and Leaf Rollers – More Nature Study Autumn

Monarch Butterfly – More Nature Study Summer

Moths – Summer ebook and another moth study

Mosquitoes – Summer ebook

Mud Daubers – More Nature Study Summer

Winter Insects – Winter Wednesday ebook

Yellow Jackets – More Nature Study Summer

Newsletters With a Insect Theme (If you have a membership, you have access to all archived newsletters.)
  • September 2012 – Insect study grid. Ant study. Lesson plans for insect and spider study.
  • April 2014 – Making a bug hotel.
  • June 2016 – Insect Wing Study notebook page. Insect nature study and nature journal ideas.
  • September 2016 – Insect home study ideas. Gall dweller nature study. Insect study grid. Insect coloring page.

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Winter Wednesday-Our Winter Insect Study

We have had our eye out for insects the past few weeks.

Yesterday we actually saw two very small butterflies as we took our afternoon walk. We are going to try to take our butterfly net today and see if we can catch one to identify.

Added after today’s walk: We actually caught one of what we thought were butterflies and now I think they are moths.

Here is the best photo I could get inside the net. They are orange on the backsides of the wings. This is the first time that I have tried to actually catch a butterfly with a net and I am really glad that my son did not have a video camera. It was hilarious….I sort of felt like a tennis player, swatting at the air. Let’s just say that I got a lot of exercise. 🙂

We saw this on a bunch of leaves and we brought one home to investigate. We decided it is some sort of leaf miner that has been at work.

We found a whole section (pages 329-332) in the Handbook of Nature Study on leaf-miners!

“To most children, it seems quite incredible that there is anything between the upper and lower surfaces of a leaf, and this lesson should hinge on the fact that in every leaf, however thin, there are rows of cells containing the living substance of the leaf, with a wall above and a wall below to protect them…….The serpent-like markings and the blister-like blotches which we often see on leaves are made by the larvae of insects which complete their growth by feeding upon the inner living substance of the leaf.”
Handbook of Nature Study, pages 329 and 331

Here are a few more photos from our walk today.

So these little fungi caught our eye today on this piece of bark. They looked like little mini hamburger buns.

The manzanita is starting to bloom and the shape of the blossoms are so pretty and delicate.

I feel like we are finally starting to catch up on our Winter Wednesdays and our Outdoor Hour Challenges. We have been so busy and the weather so wet that it really distracted us from our time outdoors. It feels good to be back in the routine again.

Learn more about leaf miners in this challenge: 
 Leaf Miners and Leaf Rollers.