It may seem like cheating because where I live in Oregon it’s barely thawing out from our record breaking snow storm earlier in March but, I’m going to share some signs of spring from my first day of spring in California. I was staying at my parents’ house in Northern California where it is most definitely spring!
There were early spring bulbs blooming like daffodils and hyacinths.
We took a long hike where we observed quite a few wildflowers and flowering shrubs.
As well as seeing signs of spring with our eyes, we heard many sounds that made us know that spring was well on the way. We heard robins, towhees, frogs, coyotes, and the buzzing of bees. Those sounds always make me think of spring in California.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting spring and now I can look forward to experiencing it again here in Oregon in a few weeks (hopefully).
“A simple spring nature study starts as soon as you start to notice the changes around you.”
In my part of the world, we’re not even close to seeing any signs of spring. But, last week I was in California and I greatly enjoyed the landscape turning green, the early spring bulbs starting to blossom, and the warm sunshine as I walked to the river.
You can complete this challenge at any time you note the first signs of spring in your neighborhood. It’s actually quite a life lesson for children to be aware of the changing of the seasons and what to look for when you’re taking your Outdoor Hour time.
Use the suggestions in the challenge linked below along with the free printables available to create a record of your family’s signs of spring.
We have enjoyed the sweet, sweet days of early spring this week. A little shower of rain and abundant sunshine after that have made for the world of spring to magically open up around us. My gardening days have begun and along with that comes a renewed inspiration to get my nature journal supplies out and create a record of the things around me.
We have early spring bulbs with a fragrance from heaven. I cut a few to put in a vase for the counter behind my kitchen sink. It makes for a beautiful visual and scent as I do my chores. You can see more ideas for enjoying your Early Spring Bulbs in the Outdoor Hour Challenge from a few weeks ago.
It was fun to create a Signs of Spring 2016 nature journal page while I was outdoors. It made me more aware of the surroundings and the many ways we can use our senses to experience the early spring. I could hear the birds singing in the neighborhood, the bushes were moving slightly in the breeze, I saw some sort of insect fly by, and I could feel the warm air and the sunshine on my skin. There is no better way to mark the beginning of the season!
I hope you can get outdoors and mark the change of the season in your world…try to make a detailed record of the day.
Note: The first day of spring for is March 20, 2016….that is this coming Sunday!
Take some time to go outdoors and look for any signs of spring you can find. If you click over to the challenge linked above, you will find a free printable notebook page to use with your nature study this week.
If you own the Discover Nature Close to Home book, you can use the information found on the bottom of page 78 to learn more about From Flower to Seed. This section talks about wildflowers and their bloom times. If you are a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study, check your library in the printables section for a Wildflower Bloom Time notebook page. You can use this same idea for a spring wildflower bloom list if you wish. You can access the notebook page by clicking the “members area” button at the top of the Handbook of Nature Study website.
Can you believe we are almost to the first day of spring for 2014? Our winter here in California was so warm and dry and it will be interesting to see how the spring season goes. Will it be warm? Will it rain at all? We will have to wait and see!
Take a few minutes on the first day of spring to record some weather related observations. You can use the printable notebook page below or you can record your observations right into your nature journal on its own page.
Have you had an unusual weather year so far?
I was thinking our family may start a daily record of the weather just to observe the statistics over time. We have done this in the past and it always proves to be a great way to focus some attention on weather as part of our nature study. This page can then go into a nature journal once completed for future reference. (See this entry: Dry December Leading Into a Dry January.)
Perhaps you are not seeing the start of spring just yet. I know many around the country have had record amounts of snow and long, long days of cold temperatures (like my son in New York).You can use the notebook page below to record any signs of spring.
1. How about a spring cattail hunt? Find your own patch of cattails and complete some observations using the Handbook of Nature Study. There is even a freeSeasonal Cattail Notebook Pageto print!
2. Look for signs of spring in your part of the world. What better way to enjoy the early spring time outdoors? Use the suggestions in the challenge and then print the Signs of Spring notebook pagefor your nature journal.
3. One of the most popular “wildflower” challenges of all time is the Dandelion Challenge from the Spring Series! Everyone loves a good dandelion study and with this commonly found plant your family can enjoy a little flower study too!
4. Here is one that all of you gardeners will enjoy…earthworms! We love digging down into the fresh spring soil and that means lots of earthworms. My boys loved to go on an earthworm hunt while I pulled a few weeds in the garden boxes.
5. Everyone has weather….you can all take some early spring weather observations no matter if there is snow on the ground or you are experiencing rain showers or you have blue skies and white puffy clouds. Print a weather notebook page and have some fun outside recording your weather and observations.
There are lots more spring nature study ideas on the Spring Tab at the top of my blog. Pick one and enjoy a few minutes outdoors this week. Have you seen some signs of spring in your neighborhood?
If you have been too busy this month to keep up with the Outdoor Hour Challenge, you many want to consider this week a time to get a few final April nature study activities. If you blog about it, you are welcome to submit your link to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival.
Five Easy Nature Study Suggestions for the End of April
Just get outside and take a walk! Informal nature study done while spending time together as a family is often the most meaningful. Get outside for a quick walk when you have a few minutes to spare. Printable Scavenger Hunt available from Hearts and Trees:Spring Nature Walk. You can also use my free Signs of Spring Notebook Page to follow up your walk.
The spring world just begs to be sketched in our nature journals. The colors of the flowers as they blossom in the warming sun just cry out to us to observe them closer, to see their intricate details. As I gather a few of our early spring flowers to record in my nature journal, I am struck the with the varying shades of green that appear in the leaves of these springtime beauties.
Each stem and leaf is a different shade of green, or they are even a mixture of greens that need our careful scrutiny if we are going to get them just right in our journal. Some leaves are olive green, some are emerald green, and some are dark green. I invite you to look at your garden greens and see if you don’t notice it too.
I count myself a very careful observer of nature. I spend lots of time in my garden enjoying the many varieties of plants, bushes, and trees, but I didn’t even notice the reddish edges on this leaf until I brought it inside to sketch into my nature journal. This illustrates the value of slowing down and taking the time to keep a nature journal…you are blessed with better powers of observation.
This is true in adults and also in children. We can help train our children to have better observation skills in all areas of their life if we use nature journaling as a skill-building tool.
Out of sheer self-indulgence I decided to make a couple pages in my journal with all the different greens I have in my colored pencil collection. I made small little sample splotches of color for each of the greens in my watercolor pencil and regular colored pencil sets. I labeled each color patch with the name on the pencil or in some cases the number on the pencil. This way I can use it as a reference whenever I need to find just the right green for a sketch. The color palette of spring is very different than that of autumn or winter.
Note to self: I think I have a lot of shades of green pencils…no need for any more.
Now I am ready to make some nature journal entries!
Lemon thyme, Oregano, Garlic chives, and Strawberry Blossoms
It is time for our early spring garden clean up where we start to tidy up the beds in anticipation of a new growing season. Mr. B and I spent a few hours in the garden trimming, weeding, raking, and enjoying the sights and smells of early spring.
Our front yard habitat is full of insects and flowers. The first of the season’s yarrow is blossoming and the plants look super healthy. We weren’t sure these would over-winter but they did beautifully…may add some more to fill in the spaces.
Hello little creature! These insects (some sort of beetle?) are showing their faces now that the rocks are warming up.
I love this image with my lavender and the bee! It seems like you are peering down into a whole different world. The lavender is alive with bees with their humming and buzzing. Go bees!
I know most of you real gardeners will shudder when I tell you that I keep part of my yard just for the dandelions. I love these happy yellow flowers and the bees agree with me too!
The bee balm is springing to life in the side yard and we pruned the neighboring bushes back to allow some more sunlight. I look forward to seeing the red blooms of this flower in the summer.
This is actually my neighbor’s flowering quince that is blooming. I am sharing it here because it has inspired me to plant a few of these in our yard for next spring’s color. Aren’t they gorgeous? I am actually wavering between this bush and the redbud….haven’t totally made up my mind yet.
So there is a little garden update from a sunny afternoon’s walk in the garden.
After all the rain we received in the last five days, it was nice to have a dry day today. It would be stretching it to say it was warm and sunny but it was pretty close. We were able to all get outside this afternoon to enjoy a look around the garden. The boys were on their scooters, the Kona dog was rolling in the grass, and I had my camera and nature journal.
The first things we noticed were the colors.
After that we noticed the delicate scent of the alyssum flowers which are starting to fill in all under the rose bushes.
Next when we sat still in the chairs for a few minutes it was the bird song and the bees buzzing in the dandelions. A spider swung by on a web…not sure where he came from but he was swinging down and floating in the breeze. The border bugs were skittering across the river rocks in the sun.
The trees are coming alive too….maple keys, buds bursting. The garden is full of sprouting, unfurling, and greenness.
So much to be thankful for on this first day of Spring 2012.
Today’s bird list on this first day of spring:
House finches -singing sweetly in the plum tree.
Nuttall’s woodpecker in the suet feeder (looking out at one right now as I type this entry)
Mourning doves scratching around under the feeder.
Western scrub jays – back to their bullying role at the feeder
Dark eyed juncos (a dozen of them)
Anna’s hummingbirds (flew right by my ear when we were sitting outside)
So what did you see? How is spring shaping up in your part of the world?