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Nature Observer – January 2021

Nature Observer – January 2021

Here in Central Oregon, we’ve entered the season of pink sunrises and cold frosty mornings. There may be a new dusting of snow on the ground which will soon be marked with critter prints as they come out from cover to search around for their next meal. Living so near to a river, we see its story each day as we look out the window and venture out to walk along the riverbank.

coyote jan 2021 (5)

We’ve had plenty of foggy, misty mornings this month and sometimes it takes until noon for the fog to disappear, but we almost always have a bit of sunshine at some point each day. My husband and I try to take advantage of the sun’s warming rays to get outside for a quick walk. I was able to get an image of a coyote trying to sneak along the river one foggy morning last week. He was on the hunt and would occasionally stop and stand as still as a statue before he rushed along some more and then eventually out of sight. We often see the coyote prints in the snow and mud, so we know they’re out there roaming around but we rarely see them in the daytime.

river ice

This January we’ve experienced a great thaw. A warm rain caused the snow and ice to almost disappear from the landscape; the melting snow making great pools of water where the ground is frozen underneath. We actually can see green grass and the violets are blooming in a few spots around our yard.

mouse trails in the snow subnivean

I think the most interesting aspect of the great thaw has been the revealing of the habits of the mice that live around our property. At first, we could see their trails underneath the snow, like tunnels that lead from their warm little homes under the earth that then lead out to where they can scurry under the birdfeeders to gather fallen seeds.

mouse trails in the snow subnivean

Now that the snow is all gone, you can see the paths among the vegetation. I wrote about this survival method a few years ago when I discovered that critters live and thrive in the “subnivean zone” during the cold winter months. They do not hibernate like other animals which fascinated me. They create a world underneath the snow where the snow acts as an insulator from freezing winds and temperatures.

You can read more here: Subnivean Zone.

elk january 2021

The most exciting story this month is that of the elk returning to our neighborhood. They are early morning visitors, so most mornings I open my blinds the minute I’m up and around. We put up our critter cam again to get some video of them as they walk majestically by in the early hours of the day.

river ice january 2021

We’ve had a much milder January than is normal, so we’re bracing for the possibility of a wintery February. Time is moving along quickly and as always, we have plenty to occupy our thoughts as we venture out each day to notice the drama and excitement that happens right outside our door.

I invite you to join us this month for the Outdoor Hour Challenge as we work our way through the Winter Nature Study Continues ebook.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Nature Study Continues ebookJoin Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

Please use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist membership.




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Nature Observer – June 2019

In complete honesty, I’ve spent every available minute this month outdoors enjoying the beauty and unexpected variety of life that seems to have been drawn to our yard. It’s very true that if you create a natural space that provides shelter, food, and water, the living creatures will come to visit.

Birds – over 20 kinds!

Insects – mostly bees, butterflies, mosquitoes, snakeflies, gnats, and ants

Amphibians – frogs and toads

Mammals – elk, deer, ground squirrels, Douglas squirrels, gray squirrels, bats

Arthropods – a variety of spiders

The effort to create an inviting environment for nature to come to us has been worth every minute and achy muscle. We’re excited to see what the rest of the summer brings to us!

Here are some nature highlights from our month.

kayak june 2019

We started the month off with a family paddle down the Little Deschutes River.  The sky was amazing! It doesn’t get much better than this when you’re out for a smooth water ride: the wildflowers were blooming, the birds were visible (including about a hundred cliff swallows), and the river all to ourselves.

wildflowers june 2019

Everywhere I looked this month I spotted a colorful wildflower. I’m keeping a list in my nature journal of all the flowers we see and it’s getting rather long. My favorite flower of the month is the wild blue iris. The meadow behind our house came alive with irises for about a week. They stand just above the grass so it looks like a sea of lavender-purple.

herb garden containers june 2019

As I have shared here before, we don’t live in a place that is highly favorable for growing a traditional vegetable garden. Instead, I’ve opted to grow fast germinating flowers and some potted herbs. Everything is starting to really shoot up with our warmer weather and I’m anxious to see how they fare over the next few months.

transplants on the berm

We’ve been busy transplanting native plants to our newly created garden berms. Each time I find a good candidate, I try to observe the growing conditions so that I can put the transplant where it has a good chance of taking hold. I’ve moved lupine, salsify, violets, columbine, and grasses. It’s all a great experiment to see what does well and what we can move in the future.

I’ve observed so many pollinators this month in our garden! Mostly bees, but also butterflies have come to land on our flowers. This is a great success for us because we’re thinking a lot about the design of the different areas of our yard to be more pollinator friendly.

wildflower sprouts

On that note, here’s an image of our freshly sprouted wildflower garden that we seeded a few weeks ago. We’re taking a gamble that we can get these plants established before the fall frosts come. If we are successful, this should reseed itself each year.

trout june 2019
Let me set the record straight. I am not a fisherman. But, I am married to one. This month the season opened on our river behind our house and we were out there several evenings walking and fishing. We had all the boys with us on one of those nights and that was the night my husband caught THE biggest rainbow trout we have ever seen. Look at my hubby’s face…joy! In the spirit of fair play, he released this big daddy back into the river to live a little longer. This is why I love him so very much….he knows the nature lover in me admired that fish’s beauty and freedom more than I would have a few delicious bites of trout.



Now for a couple of pages from my nature journal.

wildflower nature journal page

There are so many wildflowers growing on our property this year after the rains of May and early June.

may 2019 bird list nature journal

I could call this the “super bird list” since it has so many birds and the addition of a new bird to add to our life list.

Porcupine nature journal page

I’ve been eager to spot a porcupine in the habitat behind our house but have been unsuccessful so far. But, we have seen two dead porcupines on the road near our house. I stopped to look at one of them up close since he wasn’t run over but just bumped. This was a first for me to see a real porcupine this intimately and to see the quills and the fur. My admiration grew for porcupines after learning about their unique features and then having the opportunity to see one in real life. This is how advanced preparation is beneficial!


Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge

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Are you eager to see the new year plan for the Outdoor Hour challenge for 2019-2020? I’m going to be posting a blog entry soon that outlines the plans for the next two years. If you subscribe to my blog, you won’t miss it!

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Use the discount code SUMMER5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership. This will give you access to all of the ebooks, newsletter, and printables available only to members. Your membership is good for one year from the time of purchase. Don’t wait until September to purchase your membership!


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Nature Observer – May 2019

We had a tease of spring before the cold temperatures crept back in and the rains came pouring down. My friend keeps track of the rainfall numbers and we’re on track for a record breaking year as far as inches of rain. Here in Central Oregon we have a fairly dry climate, some call it the High Desert because of the low rainfall and dry air. You wouldn’t think so right now with the water standing in our yard and the rivers running very high. I’m dreaming of the long, warm summer days.

In the meantime, we jump outside when the sun is out and work on the garden and get out to observe all the amazing things we have in our area.

Here are some nature highlights from our month.

tree swallow nesting box may 2019 (2)

We have two pairs of tree swallows nesting in our yard again this year. We’ve observed them going in and out of the boxes early in the morning and then later they take off to swoop and dive out over the river. They sometimes come back to sit on the fence in the sunshine. They are such graceful and pretty birds and I’m so pleased they are nesting here again.

nest may 2019

There’s also a nest up on the back of our bbq house. I noted some dried grasses on the ground behind the shed and wondered where they came from. On investigating it further, I looked up to see a big nest up on the top of the wall. The kind of bird has yet to be determined.

western tanager may 2019

What a fantastic surprise to look outside the other day and see the colorful Western tanager at our bird feeder! There ended up being five males and two females that were enjoying the suet feeder.

smith rock hike oregon may 2019

We braved the weather to get in a hike at Smith Rock State Park on a weekday afternoon. It’s a very popular place on the weekends, so my aim was to get there on a day and time when we wouldn’t have so many other people on the trail. Success!

arrowleaf balsamroot

There were so many wildflowers to see along the trail and there were lots of birds too! My favorite flower of the day was most definitely the arrowleaf balsamroot that was growing along the ridge of the canyon. There was quite a display of color!

Now for a couple of pages from my nature journal.

Lake Clementine nature journal

I attempted to draw a scene from the hike. The water coming over the dam from the lake and the resulting rainbow in the spray was one of my favorite moments to capture as a reminder of this day with my daughter on the American River in California.

porcupine nature journal

My son was out hiking behind our house in the evening and he spotted a slow moving animal in the distance. As he got closer, he first thought it was a beaver but when it climbed a tree he realized it was in fact a porcupine! I still haven’t seen it, even though I’ve been trying to keep my eyes open for it when we’re out in the evenings. This page is the result of my research in the hope that I will soon spy my very own porcupine.

I’m still playing catch up in my nature journal so hopefully I’ll have a few more pages next month to share. In the meantime, if you want to look at the page on my website with hundreds of nature journal ideas, please feel free to use them as inspiration.

Getting Started with Nature Journals


There are many, many nature journal ideas included in the archives of the Handbook of Nature Study newsletters. If you have any level of membership, make sure to download the newsletter index to make finding a topic easy.

Newsletter Index download

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Nature Observer – April 2019

April is such an awakening of life and color here in Central Oregon. We’ve experienced an explosion of birds visiting our yard and within view of our back windows. The joy of living at the edge of two habitats grows as you see the variety of birds and animals that appear as the spring warms the earth and the grasses begin to grow.

april bird chalkboard

Here’s my April list of birds seen from our windows, all listed on the chalkboard that hangs in our dining area. I hardly have room to add any more birds! Some are the usual residents but many of the birds we spotted are migrant visitors that stop by or stay through the summer.

first arrival hummingbird at feeder

I hung my hummingbird feeder up last week and two days later we had our first hummingbird! The nesting boxes are already full of birds that are nesting, including the tree swallows that zip and dive around our yard.

eagle chasing raven april 2019

We were particularly surprised to see an eagle land behind our house and then take off chasing a raven. This eagle was huge! It was a thrill to be able to not only see this magnificent bird but to capture some images for my nature journal.

elk at sunrise april 2019

The return of the elk came in April this year as well. We have 7-8 elk that graze behind our house every day early in the morning and sometimes again in the evening. During the day, they hang out among the trees and if they stand still you can’t even see them.

high water with kona april 2019

The large snow pack and the heavy rains we received have made the river behind our house rise up higher than we’ve ever observed in the two years we’ve lived here. We can’t freely walk up and down the riverbank because our path is cut off with a channel of water as it meanders around and then back to the main river.

april 16 2019 great blue heron bird backyard (5)


We’ve seen herons, mallards, and otters in these new waterways right up near our back fence.


One More Image

fort rock oregon april 2019

I’m feeling so much stronger now that my hips and muscles are healing from my surgery! We took a more strenuous hike this past week up to Fort Rock in the Oregon Outback. This is a magical place for hiking this time of year. Once at the top, you can see for miles out over the sagebrush and juniper trees. The wind makes a moaning and whistling sound up against the volcanic rocks if you climb up and sit near the rim of the crater. We heard birds like ravens and hawks calling out from their perches high up on the rocks, echoing and bouncing from rim to rim. The wild currants are just getting ready to blossom and the sagebrush isn’t far behind in leafing out. What a great afternoon!


Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

There are many, many nature journal ideas included in the archives of the Handbook of Nature Study newsletters. If you have any level of membership, make sure to download the newsletter index to make finding a topic easy.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower 3 Covermaker

Did you see the new Wildflower ebook? There are five completely new Outdoor Hour Challenges in this ebook for you to enjoy with your family. Please click over and check it out and don’t miss the $5 off discount code!

Learning About Birds 3D cover

This is the perfect time of year to start a bird nature study unit. If you’re just finishing up your science curriculum and you have a few extra days to fill in with some fun nature study, take a look at the Learning About Birds ebook for some ideas and suggestions for making the most of the springtime bird population in your local area.


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Nature Observer -February 2019

The month of February has brought with it a lot of SNOW! We haven’t thawed out completely since the beginning of the snow storms. There have been a few days of sunshine but the temperatures have been very cold; cold enough to keep the snow and ice piled up outside our door.

birdfeeder in the snow juncos

We’ve been trying to keep up with the birds that visit our feeders as part of Project Feederwatch and also during the Great Backyard Bird Count. From what I can observe, not only have there been fewer bird species but even the numbers of those birds has decreased. Some days I only see a handful of birds….far less than this same time period last year. Because we haven’t lived here very long, it’s hard to know if this is an unusual year or not. We’ll keep a detailed record of our observations and see how the year progresses.

nature journal examples (8) february detailed observations

I’ve kept up with my daily nature journal notes with our temperatures, snow amounts, and other interesting details from our observations. These simple notes help record just a little more thorough picture of the season.



Images from my Journal

nature journal examples (3) january bird list

I completed my January birds page. Now that I look at it, it needs a little more detail to make it a really good record of the month. Perhaps I’ll add the numbers of birds I observed (by looking at my Project Feederwatch data) and maybe compare this year’s January birds with last year’s list.

nature journal examples (2) snow data

Here’s the page that I made to keep track of the January snow. I may just add February’s statistics to it as well since there’s room.

nature journal examples (4) january grid study newsletter

I used a Handbook of Nature Study newsletter printable grid to record some fun nature details in my journal. This is a super simple way to get started if you’re stumbling over a big ol’ blank page. See this entry for more information on using nature study grids: Using Printables from the Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter.

nature journal examples (5) february birds list GBBC

Here’s a look at my February birds page in progress. I’m keeping a running list of birds observed, left room for my Great Backyard Bird count details and thoughts, and I’m using a printable grid from the Handbook of Nature Study newsletter to encourage me to be on the lookout for birds of all colors. I will finish this one up by the end of the month.

nature journal examples (6) great horned owl bird

We heard a pair of Great Horned Owls early one morning and I wanted to create a page that had all of the interesting facts about this bird in my nature journal. I find the process of looking up the information for a page helps me learn and remember things better. I’m not aiming for a fancy page but one that has meaning to me. I’m challenging myself to draw in my nature journal, not on every page but a few times a month.


One More Image

feb 2019 mountain lion

We’ve had a mountain lion roaming our neighborhood for a few weeks. Our next door neighbor snapped this image of the big cat right up in a tree in his backyard. It makes me a little nervous to have such a wild creature so near to our home, but we’re just taking precautions and being alert to any signs that he is back.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

There are many, many nature journal ideas included in the archives of the Handbook of Nature Study newsletters. If you have any level of membership, make sure to download the newsletter index to make finding a topic easy.

Newsletter Index download

76 issues of the Handbook of Nature Study newsletter are available in the Discovery level of membership for only $20! You also get the Getting Started with the Outdoor Hour Challenge ebook in this level which makes it a super awesome value for your $20.

Download an index of topics here: Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter Topics and Printables.



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Nature Observer – January 2019

Nature Journal Project

This month is a fresh start to my nature journaling journey. I’m keeping several different journals as a way to become more of a naturalist specializing in my own habitat. This just feels like it’s the right time.

what is a naturalist button

Although I’m still trying to keep things simple, I’ve created a new routine for recording my daily notes and statistics as a way to reach my Nature Study Goals for 2019.

Daily Notebooks

Every day I create a brief entry in the Naturalist Notebook which is really a five year record of daily details. You can see in the image how there is a very small box for each day running across the page. Then, down the column will be where I fill in information over the next four years. This way you can compare the daily events from year to year. Right now it feels very ambitious but I’ve learned that if you take it one day at a time it isn’t such a huge project.

The second place I’m recording daily information is in this planner/notebook. It has larger spaces for me to include more details or thoughts for each day. I’m still deciding if I like this particular notebook for this purpose, but time will tell if it works for me.

Note: It’s an 18-month calendar and so the first part has been unused. I’m trying to decide if I should just remove the pages or repurpose them in some way.

This entry includes affiliate links to

Field Notebook

I have yet to make a single record in my field notebook. It’s super cold when I go outside and I usually wear gloves. This makes it hard to take the notebook and pencil out. That’s a pretty bad excuse for not giving this tool a try and I will be working on doing better. Maybe I should wear my fingerless gloves when I go out on my walks.

Personal Nature Journal

This is where I’ve really stepped up my nature journaling game this year. I’ve gone ahead and prepared several introductory pages for the year and then planned a few pages for January ahead of time.

If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be sharing the month’s pages at the end of each month in a video along with an explanation.

winter willow nature journal

Here’s an example of one of my January pages sharing my winter willow observations. You can see that I’ve switched to a larger size page for this year just to switch things up.

river otter nature journal

I have some of the pages planned out, but there’s still room to add in things that spring up during our nature walks like the river otter scampering across the icy river with a fresh fish in his mouth. What a great experience!

Al in all, I think I’ve been successful in getting started with my new routine of nature journaling. It takes a few minutes a day to keep up with the daily notes and maybe 30 minutes or so to create a new nature journal page in my personal journal. With this little effort, I’m loving the feeling of getting to know my habitat better with each passing week. Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges gives me a framework and inspiration to learn something new! This knowledge is not only fun to learn but very encouraging to pass along to my friends and family.

Be Inspired! Be Encouraged! Get Outdoors!

Getting Started with Nature Journals

Do you want some more specific nature journal ideas? Click over to my nature journal page and scroll down for the Once-a-Month Nature Journal Project idea buttons. There’s a lot there to keep you busy!


Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudyThere are many, many nature journal ideas included in the archives of the Handbook of Nature Study newsletters. If you have any level of membership, make sure to download the newsletter index to make finding a topic easy.

Newsletter Index download




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Nature Goals Update – 3rd Quarter 2018

Nature Goals 2018

2018 Nature Study Goals @handbookofnaturestudy

As the third quarter of 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to evaluate my nature goals. I can rejoice in my achievements and set a plan in motion for the goals yet to be achieved. You can read my original goals here: Nature Goals 2018.

3rd Quarter 2018

  1. Continue to use the Nature Observer journal to keep a record of my nature study experiences. Focus more on sketching. Accomplished
  2. Keep a record of the wildflowers that grow in my local habitat. Note the day they start to bloom and where we see them for future reference. Accomplished
  3. Visit the High Desert Museum each month, each time focusing on a different exhibit. Partially Accomplished
  4. Visit the nature center at Sunriver.  Ask about volunteering. In addition, make note of their garden and the native plants they have growing there as a reference in planning our backyard garden. Postponed until next year
  5. Take 3 new hikes.  Partially Accomplished
  6. Get the kayaks out in a new place locally. Accomplished

Nature Observer august

My constant and daily routine of writing in my Nature Observer Guided Journal continues to help me see the beauty of the world around me, no matter the weather or circumstances. The value of this kind of daily journal is becoming clearer and clearer to me as I make my way through 2018. Even if I only jot down a sentence or two along with the weather, I can see patterns and season markers that give me insight into my local habitat.

I did continue to keep track of our wildflowers, recording a list in my Nature Observer Guided Journal. This is why I love this journal so much! I can adapt the pages to fit my current interests and very easily be reminded to add to the list.

Wildflower list august Nature Observer

These lists will be ongoing in my journal as a way of keeping track of bloom time and new flowers observed.

John Muir journal pages

We visited the High Desert Museum in July with our daughter to see the History of Rock Climbing exhibit. Fabulous! It covered not only the history, but there was some actual climbing equipment to check out and my favorite part of it all was a portion of a John Muir journal describing his climb to the brink of Yosemite Falls.

High Desert Museum July

In August we visited the museum with my sister and her husband.  We attended the Raptors of the Sky exhibition together because both of us absolutely love these large birds. The event is held outdoors and it allows the raptors to fly really close to you in the audience. A few times I thought they were going to actually brush my hair with their wings because they came so close! My favorite bird in the exhibition was the barn owl with his wings flying noiselessly through the air. I highly recommend working this into your schedule if you ever visit Central Oregon.

Benham Falls

Our goal to hike this summer was hindered by the serious escalation of the arthritis in my hips. In a matter of months, I have gone from being able to hike 5-6 miles at a time with a moderate amount of pain to not being able to walk much more than a mile with a lot of pain and quite a bit of help from my husband.  I’m going to be having a bilateral hip replacement in October to relieve the pain and hopefully change my life for the better. But in the meantime, I’m not able to do very much in the way of hiking. Most of what I do now could be considered a moderate stroll.

Taking that into account, my son planned a short, fairly flat hike to Benham Falls one afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed the outing as we walked along the Deschutes River and ended up at the falls. We sat and took in the sights and sounds for a while before turning around and heading back.

Crater Lake

We were also able to visit Crater Lake National Park as a day trip with our other son. He drove us there and we found a place to have a picnic lunch right on the rim of the lake. We walked along the rim for a little easy hike. In addition, we took the Castle Crest trail to look for wildflowers but because it’s really late in the season, we found just a few to enjoy. My slower pace really helps me see what is along the trail’s edge…trying to look at the positive.

Little Lava Lake fishing

We’ve had the kayaks out on the Little and Big Deschutes multiple times this summer, but we also made an effort to find a new place to paddle. My husband and I had an afternoon up at Little Lava Lake where we saw the headwaters of the Deschutes River, a new aquatic plant called water smartweed, and many of the local peaks: Mt. Bachelor, South Sister, and Broken Top.



Now for my 4th Quarter Goals-taking into account my surgery in the middle of October

  1. Finish up the year in my Nature Observer Guided Journal.
  2. Participate in Project Feederwatch.
  3. Walk as much as possible, allowing for healing from my hip surgery.
  4. Read at least two nature related books from my personal library.


Here is a short list of books I am contemplating reading during my recovery (either on hold at the library or on my personal bookshelf):

Please note this entry includes Amazon affiliate links to books I own and/or love!


2018 Nature Study Goals @handbookofnaturestudy

If you would like to see the previous quarters for 2018: 1st Quarter Update and 2nd Quarter Update.

Be inspired! Be Encouraged! Get Outdoors!

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Nature Observer – August

Nature Journal Project: Nature Observer August 2018

Wondering what we have been up to this month and what nature journal pages I have created? August has been very laid back as far as getting outdoors and experiencing nature. We’ve done some trail and campground exploring within a twenty mile radius of our house and found an abundance of awesome places to investigate further. I’m keeping a list in my nature journal of possible places to use for outings in the future. Yes, I know I’m spoiled to have so many things so close at hand, but that’s part of the reason we moved to Central Oregon. It’s a fantastic place for nature nerds to live!

Here are my pages from the past few weeks.


Quaking Aspen Nature Journal Page

We planted a new aspen tree this month back in our far corner. It’s visible from our living room windows so I’m already anticipating the change of the season and the leaf color. I created a page in my journal with a few interesting facts about aspens, some of my observations, and then a leaf rubbing.

Nature Observer Guided Journal @handbookofnaturestudy

Here’s a two page spread in my Nature Observer journal (see the link and cover below). I LOVE this journal and every day I’m eager to record a few thoughts, facts, and/or nature observations. It has become a great record of when things bloom, appear, disappear, etc.

Fall River nature journal page

This page is a record of a magical afternoon spent sitting by Fall River with my husband. The weather was perfect and we found a secluded spot along the bank to watch the birds, enjoy the wildflowers, and the sound of the rippling water.

Western Toad nature journal page @handbookofnaturestudy

I tackled a sketch of our resident toad. I used a photograph as a reference and then water-colored it in for my nature page. I learned some new facts about the toad and I can now appreciate his comings and goings as part of his life cycle. My friend named the toad “Geraldine”. I’m not sure how to tell if it’s a boy or girl toad, but we’re going with Geraldine for now.

Western Toad Oregon

I’m still going strong with this Nature Observer Guided Journal that I started back at the beginning of the year. There are so many positive things I could say about it but the most important thing is the flexible nature of the calendars and the prompts. I make every page work for me in my habitat. Plus it has a built in habit trainer…in the form of a bullet-style journal section for each month’s goals. So helpful!

If you’re looking for a pre-printed nature journal for yourself, take a look at this one on I highly recommend it! Please note that I am an affiliate for


Getting Started with Nature Journals

Do you want some more specific nature journal ideas? Click over to my nature journal page and scroll down for the Once-a-Month Nature Journal Project idea buttons. There’s a lot there to keep you busy!

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 Observer – July 2018

Nature Observer – Nature Journal Project

July 2018


We’re experiencing a glorious summer weather pattern where it’s hot in the afternoons and very cool at night. It gives us a window of time in the mornings to get out and enjoy a good hike, go for a bike ride, or get things done in the garden before it’s too hot to enjoy it. If it gets too hot, we drag the kayak down to the river and enjoy a good float in the cool river water.

Get outside each day to explore a little nature before the temperatures heat up!

Nature journaling is a perfect indoor activity during the summer months. Pull out the journals along with a few art supplies to record your summer nature study discoveries. Give it a try!

Here are my pages from the past few weeks.


hummingbird nature journal

We have two different kinds of hummingbirds visiting our feeders. They are very different and easy to spot. The rufous hummingbird has such a mechanical sound to its wings that you can hear them coming from far away. The calliope hummingbird is very tiny and not as aggressive as the rufous. My page captures both of these amazing creatures.

Bird Nest Nature Journal page

It’s been quite a summer for bird’s nests in our yard. We’ve been curious and eager to see who would inhabit our nesting boxes. Well, we had two boxes filled with swallows, one box had mountain bluebirds, another box had chickadees, and the most interesting nest was built in a crack in a pine tree by a pair of pygmy nuthatches. Of course, I wanted to document all of this in my nature journal.

South Sister nature journal pages

I’ve started to carry a small sketch book with me along with a pen to capture the random moments that inspire me. This page was done while kayaking at Sparks Lake with my daughter as we paddled towards the South Sister Peak. Love it!

Getting Started with Nature Journals

Do you want some more specific nature journal ideas? Click over to my nature journal page and scroll down for the Once a Month Nature Journal Project idea buttons. There’s a lot there to keep you busy!

Once a Month Nature Journal Project @handbookofnaturestudy

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.

Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small


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Nature Observer – June

Nature Observer – Nature Journal Project

June 2018

June was packed with lots of outdoor time here in Central Oregon. Most days we were close to home, observing and loving what we discovered in our own yard. But, we also did a bit of traveling to enjoy a completely different habitat. All in all, June has been an excellent month for nature exploring and journaling.

The ocean is a refresher and we were completely delighted with the change of scenery. The ocean waves, the sandy beaches, the tide pools, and the coastal forests made a perfect backdrop for all of our exploring.

Here are my pages for your inspiration:

rock garden nature journal

This is the time of year for new plantings and creating new garden spaces. We got a load of free rocks and used them to begin a new section of our rock garden. I found some plants to transplant and purchased a bit of yarrow to fill in the spaces.

purple iris nature journal

We walk in our meadow just about every day and the purple iris were all blooming the first few weeks of June. I love seeing them as we walk the trail.

Penstemon nature journal

Also from our meadow walks, we noted a “new to us” flower, Rydberg’s penstemon.  It’s always exciting to discover a new plant to add to our nature journal!

Oregon Coast nature journal

This page is the first of our pages from our coastal trip. I wanted to make some quick notes about a multitude of things we saw during our hikes. I love a good recap page!

Beach observations nature journal

I did my best to create a few sketches with colored pencils that represent a few of the highlights from our trip to the tide pool. I love combining sketches and words on a page.


Getting Started with Nature Journals

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.