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New Printables for Members: First Day of Autumn and Full Moon

Now available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships:

1. First Day of Autumn Grid Study and Nature Journal Toppers printable:  I think we are all ready for a little change in the season! Using these printables in your nature journal will help jump start your nature journaling year.

2. Full Moon Planner 2020 notebook page:  I have so enjoyed gazing at the full moons this summer. But,  I seem to lack enthusiasm as soon as the evenings turn chilly. I wanted a way to remind myself to get outside and look at the moon in all the seasons so I created the planner page to help encourage our family to take note of each of the full moons over the next year. Please join me and I hope the helps you create a record of your moon observations.

(See the end of this post for more information on how you can become a member.)

First Day of Autumn Printable Notebook Page

Full Corn Moon is September 2, 2020!

Full Moon 2020 Planner Page

Printables for Members Button

Print a complete list of printables available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships by clicking the button above.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020

September 2020 nature planner page

Members also have access to the Nature Planner pages in their library.

Print out this month’s page and use it to stimulate your weekly nature study time.

It’s time to pull out this autumn favorite!

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Nature Observer – March 2018

Nature Observer – Nature Journal Examples

March 2018

We’re still in the midst of winter weather…no spring yet! But, that hasn’t kept us from getting outside and enjoying the amazing clouds, birds, and weather that greets us each day. I had a friend ask me this week if I’m suffering from the loss of spring green and early wildflowers that she has in California and I could honestly say that it hasn’t been a big deal to me. We moved here to experience something different and that is exactly what we’re feeling here in the middle of March. I created a sign on my chalkboard to remind me of an important fact…

Spring Chalkboard Sign

Spring will come and I will be just as excited about it in May as I would’ve been in March.

We’re busy planning the landscaping in our backyard right now.  Doing the research on plants and trees and shrubs that thrive here in our harsh climate has made my heart happy in anticipation. We want to get it right so it’s taking a lot of research to decide which plants will give some color and depth to our very flat piece of land. We don’t want to obstruct our view of the mountains so everything needs to be viewed in light of how it will affect the sight lines from our back windows and from the future patio. More on that project in an upcoming post!


Here are my weekly entries from March!


Great Backyard Bird Count 2018 Lis

I had been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Great Backyard Bird Count since it’s our first here in Oregon. We had some surprise bird visitors just in time to be officially counted for the event.


Almost Spring March 2018 nature journal page

I wanted to record our March nature events as they unfolded so this two page spread will allow me to add to the journal throughout the month. I should have called it “not really spring yet” instead of “almost spring”.

Winter Birds and Poem

I’m still going strong with the Nature Observer journal that I began in January. The premade pages encourage me to record things I wouldn’t otherwise think about including in my journal. The pages shown here are both to record the winter bird visitors we observe during this season on one page and then another page to record migratory birds we’ll see in future seasons that are not here now. These pages required some research on my part but I love that kind of work. It impressed on me more deeply the rhythm and cycles of bird migration here in Central Oregon. It’s a way we can anticipate the changing seasons and view a bird’s comings and goings as a natural sign of the time of year.

Bonus! Plus here is a page from my archives that you can create in your journal using the March 2014 newsletter printables.

Nature Journal Toppers and List March 2014March 2014 Nature Journal Topper Printable List

This is from my 2014 nature journal where I was using a little bit larger page (Mixed Media Side Wire 7 x 10). I was able to use the printable list and nature journal topper from the March 2014 newsletter to create a page using a photo and some journaling. I’m anticipating using this size journal again after I finish my current smaller one (Mixed Media Side Wire 8.5 x 5.5).

Getting Started with Nature Journals

Have you taken a look at my updated nature journal page? Here’s a link to see some ideas to inspire you in your journaling efforts.


Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

Don’t forget that I’m sharing a nature journal page each week on my Instagram account if you want to see the pages as they unfold. Follow me here: Instagram – outdoorhourchallenge. And, if you want to create a page and share it on your Instagram for me to see, use the hashtag #OHCnaturejournal.

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Nature Journal Examples – September 2017

Weekly Nature Journal Project

September 2017

The weather has drastically changed in the last week or so here in Central Oregon. We have gone straight to chilly autumn weather and sprinkles from time to time. I haven’t seen the aspens changing color yet, so I’m still waiting on that show of color to really feel like autumn is here to stay.

My nature journal continues to fill up with new and exciting things as I learn about the plants and animals. There is always something to put in the journal when I get ready each week to make my page.

During October, I encourage you to make time for a page or two with your children or just on your own. Make it a special time with a special snack or drink to enjoy while you work on your page. In a few weeks, the Outdoor Hour Challenge will be to get started on your journal so take that encouragement and create a simple nature journal page.

Here are my September pages for inspiration:


I wanted to make a record of this gorgeous flower we saw on our visit to Crater Lake National Park back in July. I decided to sketch it even though it was a little daunting to get it right.

rabbit brush

This shrub is the most abundant flowering plant in my area right now. I love where there are whole fields of it with its cheerful yellow flowers. We have a bit on our property so I’ve been able to watch it bloom and now fade. I will look forward to seeing it next summer.


This page came about when I brought in a small bouquet of wildflowers and put them in a vase on my kitchen counter. I found that practically overnight they went to seed. The small winged seeds had spread all around the vase. The lupine pods have been sitting on my nature shelf for a month or so and I heard a popping sound the other day and discovered the pods had burst open and shot the small round seeds flying all over the shelf and floor. I decided to create a page that will remind me of the seeds and the promise of next year’s wildflowers.


Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge

Don’t forget that I am sharing a nature journal page each week on my Instagram account if you want to see the pages as they unfold. Follow me here: Instagram – outdoorhourchallenge. And, if you want to create a page and share it on your Instagram for me to see, use the hashtag #OHCnaturejournal

Autumn 2010 Outdoor Hour Challenge

Join us for the autumn season series of Outdoor Hour Challenges using the ideas in the Autumn 2010 ebook. The first challenge will be October 6, 2017.


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Garden Planning and April Recap -In Progress

Spring Garden @handbookofnaturestudy

This is such a gorgeous colorful time of year in the garden. I thought I would do a little update on my Garden Planning nature journal page and share how my April 2016 recap page is coming along.

 Garden Planning 2016 Nature Journal Page @handbookofnaturestudy

At least this is the plan as of today…I know when the actual planting time comes I will probably adjust a bit but this gives my husband an idea of what irrigation I will need for him to set in up in each box. The one box is labeled as the “herb box” which it used to be in the past but now it is just a regular box…it will probably always be known as the herb box.

april 2016 recap nature journal page @handbookofnaturestudy

I’ve left some blank space for recording experiences as we finish up the month. I find that keeping the page going during the month is the best way to assure that it will actually get done. I used some watercolor pencils, gel pens, and a ruler to create my page.

Are you working on your garden seeds challenge? Take a few minutes and get it started! Are you going to create a monthly recap page? Here is the link to the Once a Month Nature Journal Project idea post.

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Autumn Nature Journal Examples

Autumn Nature Journal  (2)

There is something about autumn that makes me want to create a nature journal, capturing the last bits of warm weather left, the few colorful weeds still left blooming, the trees, the change of birds.

Autumn Nature Journal  (1)

Using the grid from this month’s newsletter, I did a simple page that will be filled by the end of the month. It is a simple record of some of the changes and interesting events observed this month.

Autumn Nature Journal  (3)

There was also some time during our visit to Yosemite to create a page for the thistles that were growing and blooming right behind our campsite. Nothing fancy but meaningful to me as I enjoyed an autumn afternoon sitting on a log and sketching a few thistles.

Have you created any journals this month yet? There is still time left to do one or two pages!

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Nature Journal Topper – Summer Grid

Summer Grid Journal @handbookofnaturestudy

I am getting started on my Summer Grid nature journal from the June 2014 newsletter. Included in the newsletter this month are several printables that you can use with your family to create fun and interesting nature journals without a lot of fuss.

The Summer Fun Grid can be cut and then adhered in the journal as a tickler for June nature related activities. I like to keep a record of the journal items all on one page.

You will also find the Nature Journal Toppers to use with reluctant journalers…simple to cut, adhere to the page, and then complete the desired activity to journal about. See an example in this entry: Spring Cattails.

Tulip Poplar

Here is a blossom from my Tulip poplar tree…the one I am going to visit each week as part of my grid study. There were bees buzzing around today and I also found some aphids on the back of one of the leaves.

Tulip Poplar leaf with aphids

It just took slowing down to note something pretty incredible!

I hope you find time to try some of the grid ideas and to use the Nature Journal Toppers this month.

If you do not have the newsletter and you are not already a subscriber, you can enter your name in the box at the top right of the Handbook of Nature Study website. You will receive an email you need to confirm and then an email will be sent with the newsletter link.


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Spring Cattail Observations and Journal Page

Spring Cattail Observations and Journal @handbookofnaturestudy

Our challenge from last week was to find and observe some spring cattails: Springtime Cattail Observations. We headed over to our local park where we had observed some fabulous cattails last year. Because of the drought, there are not as many as we had noticed during the summer of 2013 and they were much smaller than expected. We are going to mark our calendar to make some summer observations and compare our results.

April 2014 Spring Cattail Observations

There was enough water in the pond to see a beautiful reflection of the clouds and there were insects making little ripples and bubbles in the water. We estimated that the cattails were about three feet high and we will compare the height when we return this summer.

Cattail Fluff spring observations

When we took a closer look at the water’s edge, we saw an old cattail that had disintegrated into a soft pile of fluff. What a great find!

Spring Cattails Nature Topper Journal Page @handbookofnaturestudy

Using the Nature Journal Topper from the April 2014 newsletter, I created a nature journal page with some of my observations and a simple sketch.

Hopefully, your family will get a chance to find a place with cattails for your springtime observations. If you started a year-long study already, return to your cattail spot to make some comparisons for your nature journal.

Do you know where there are cattails in your area?


Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

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Our Spring Tree – Officially Starting a New Study

We have completed several year-long tree studies in the past, observing a particular tree in each season for a whole year. We haven’t had a tree for some time. I looked back and we started a study of the neighborhood cottonwood tree but never finished. Oops.

Oak Tree 2007-2008
Sweet Gum 2008-2009
Tulip Tree 2010-2011
Birch Tree 2011-2012
Cottonwood Tree – 2012-incomplete

Time for a fresh start and a new tree. We looked around our yard and realized that we have studied quite a few of those trees already. Hunting around, we found a new tree. We know the tree as the “birdfeeder tree” because it has always had our birdfeeder hanging from its branches. We don’t know what the name of the tree is officially so it is going to be a mystery tree until we complete the study.

You can see the Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Tree entry to get started on your own tree study.

This is our tree looking from our back deck and between our house and the neighbor’s house.  It is an awkward place to take a photo but you get the idea of the shape of the tree. You can see the Pittosporum plant on the right of the tree.


Here is a look at the branches from underneath. In the summer this tree shades the end of our deck where I have some chairs and a table. We spend many an afternoon and evening enjoying the shade given by our “birdfeeder tree”.

This is what is on the branches on this first day of spring. Wow! Look at all those tree parts. A few days ago, when the sun was shining on the tree, I could see it actually giving off little puffs of pollen into the breeze. I am sure this is the tree that is making pollen on the deck.

Here is another view of the flowers (fruits?) of this mystery tree. If anyone has any idea what this tree is from looking at the images in this entry, please leave me a comment or send me an email. I freely admit I don’t know all there is to know, or even a fraction of what there is to know, about trees even in my own backyard.

I added a photo and some notes to my page that I had prepared using the new Nature Journal Topper from the newsletter. Hopefully this will remind me to complete a summer study of our tree and perhaps be able to identify it when it has leaves.

Have you picked a tree to study for a year?



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Nature Journal Topper Printable – Getting Started

This month in the Handbook of Nature Study newsletter I created a brand new printable for helping your children start working in their very own nature journal.

The printable Nature Journal Toppers are a simple way to help a child get over the “blank page” fear by providing a simple prompt.

What is a Nature Journal Topper?
The prompts in the Nature Journal Topper will allow them to cut and then adhere a short nature study idea to the top of any page, then complete the suggestion in their own way. Sometimes the page will include a suggestion for a sketch, a photo, a list, or an observation.

I chose to start with the spring tree Nature Journal Toppers as well as the list prompt provided in the March 2014 newsletter. Allow your child to create a page that fits their style. I used watercolors to paint a background on my page but that is my personal style. I will fill in the page as the month goes by.

Your child can complete as many of the prompts each month as they wish. I am hoping that these Nature Journal Toppers will give you family a little help in encouraging even the most reluctant nature journaler.

I will be including this feature in the up-coming editions of the Handbook of Nature Study newsletter. Some families really enjoy the nature study grids from the newsletter so we may go back to those in the future.

I would enjoy hearing how using the Nature Journal Toppers help your family.