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A Robert Frost Style Winter Nature Study for Your Homeschool

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Frost’s poem, Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

There was so much snow in our favorite woods…it brought to mind the Robert Frost poem that we have been reading in our poetry study the past few weeks.

A Robert Frost Stopping By The Woods Winter Nature Study

“Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.”

Robert Frost (Few lines from Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, 1923).

Using Snowshoes or Cross Country Skis for a Snow Hike

Our Winter Wednesday color walk and cattail observations were combined into one snowy hike…snowshoes firmly attached. It started off with 18 degree weather but by the time we finished it was around 40 degrees, sun shining brightly.

Look for Winter Colors in Your Homeschool Nature Study

We started off with not much aim other than looking for colors and finding the cattail pond. I decided that it is nice to have something in mind as we head out in the really cold air….otherwise you keep your eyes down and forget to look up and out.

The color palette of this snowy world is actually quite beautiful. The blue sky, the evergreen pines, the red-yellow-orange of the shrubs, the colorful lichens, and the blue of the lake really stand out against all the snow.

1 6 11 Cattails at Taylor Creek with snow
Our cattails this year are quite secluded and we aren’t even sure if we will be able to get out here since we think this is marshy in the spring and summer. It will be interesting to see how the terrain changes by the season.

1 6 11 Cattails in the snow Taylor Creek
Look at the mountain covered with snow! The colors really pop when you have all this whiteness going on…blue sky, reddish-oranges of the willow and dogwood, green evergreens.

1 6 11 Snowshoe trail

Keep Your Cross Country Ski Route in Mind

It seems unlikely that we would get lost but we did wander around following someone else’s path. It is a really good idea to have in mind a route when you are out in the woods like this. We knew our general direction but you get tired trudging through large amounts of snow even with snowshoes on. (I also got hot…too many layers.)

Our problem was that there are two large creeks that run through the snowy meadows and if you don’t plan it right you are stuck on one side with the water running between you and the rest of the path. I could see where animals had just jumped across the gap but with snowshoes on, you don’t jump very well. We had to find a way to go around.

1 6 11 Taylor Creek with Snow
Another factor is that with all this snow, our familiar landmarks are erased. The bushes are flat with snow and there is far more water than we are used to. All those lumps are bushes weighed down with a couple feet of snow. You can’t really hike over the top. Going around again.

1 6 11 Snow Shoes at Taylor Creek
In the end, we made it back to the car by following the creek and finding the bridge. It was a wonderful romp through the woods, successful in refreshing our hearts with some wonderful awesome vistas that you would never see if you didn’t break out the snowshoes or cross-country skis.

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

A Homeschool Snow Study

If you don’t have snowshoes or cross-country skis, you can still enjoy a fun homeschool snow study! Browse all of these fun ideas: Homeschool Snow Study

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

A Robert Frost Art Lesson and Tea Time

Follow up your outdoor hour time with a fun art and homeschool tea time! Fun ideas for Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening Homeschool Tea Time with You ARE an ARTiST. A printable Robert Frost poem is included in ARTiST Clubhouse membership.

You might also like a Winter Snowflake Study with Snowflake Bentley.

You can enjoy a Robert Frost Style winter nature study for your homeschool! Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening can be a jumping off point. Enjoy these ideas for your snowy adventure.

More Winter Homeschool Nature Study

Here are even more winter nature studies for you to enjoy together:

Be sure to share photos of your Robert Frost winter nature study with us! Tag us @outdoorhourchallenge

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Written by Outdoor Hour Challenge founder, Barb McCoy in 2011. Updated by Tricia 2022.

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New Printables for Members – Vernal Pools and Snow Plant

Now available in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships:

1. Snow Plant Nature Study Notebook Page– This time of year you may find yourself walking along your favorite trail and spot some snow plant. If you do a little research ahead of time, you will be armed with a few facts and things to look for when you see a snow plant in person.

2. Vernal Pool Notebook Page – Spring is vernal pool time in our area. Look up the definition of a vernal pool and then make plans to go out to discover one in your area.

snow Plant Nature Study Notebook PageVernal Pools Habitat Notebook Page

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

Note: If you have any subjects you would like me to create nature notebook pages for, please let me know in a comment here on the blog or in an email:

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

Use the discount code NATURE5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership!

april page image

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.

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Winter Snowshoe Hike – Jays, Tracks, and Weeds

Winter Snow and Weeds
Tahoe National Forest – California

When I posted on Facebook yesterday that we were going to head out to snowshoe, the weather forecast said something like “partly cloudy, high of 52 degrees, and 10% chance of precipitation”. Sounded good to me. Well no one told us that between our house and our hiking spot that there was going to be dense fog, drizzle, and the temperatures were falling into the 30’s.

I knew Mr. B was anxious to test out his new snowshoes so I didn’t want to disappoint him and we kept going up over the mountain. Once over the mountain it cleared up and we had lots of clouds but no rain.

Tracks in the snow
Needless to say, we kept our eyes on the sky, checking for signs we were going to get rained or snowed. We had the snow to ourselves, not counting the many animal tracks that were visible. So many tracks going so many directions…there must be a whole forest full of animals out there.

Stellers Jay in the bushes
Isn’t this a surprising sight of brilliant blue on this winter day? Steller’s jays are common and this one was posing for my camera. I love the blue feathers on the nose. My field guide says that these jays are “inquisitive, intelligent, and noisy”. Yep, that totally describes this bird.

Stellers Jay flying
We couldn’t resist seeing if we could lure the jay closer and Mr. B had a pocket full of pretzels. One little bit of pretzel and that Steller’s jay came swooping down for a tasty treat, making his shook-shook-shook sound as he flew.

Snowshoe Taylor Creek
We had to go the long way around since the beavers have now completely dammed up the water in the creek and the resulting pond has spread over the normal trail. This is where we saw the salmon spawning last fall and the mama bear with cubs. No signs of them now, although it smells rather fishy around this bend in the creek from all the dead fish remains.

Taylor Creek with snow and tracks
We hiked along the creek a little way and we noticed that there are places where the creek mud is piled up onto the banks. We could see lots of little animal tracks around the mud but I’m still not sure what kind of animal did this and what they were doing. Winter hikes can lead to lots of questions. You can see the muddy sludge…it is the black stuff there along the edge.

Aspens in the Snow
I never get tired of looking at the landscape here at Taylor Creek. The patterns of the tree trunks against the Sierra sky in the winter is amazing and beautiful. Some people get to look out their living room windows and view a similar scene and I wonder if they stop seeing the awesomeness of it. I come here a dozen times a year and I never tire of this place.

Snowshoe tracks
When you are on snowshoes, you can follow tracks as much as you want but I am always a little afraid of getting out into the forest too far….I have a terrible sense of direction. This area is easy to navigate because I can hear the highway in the distance and I generally know which direction I need to head to get back to the trailhead. Here is an example of a nice clear print in the snow.

Winter Weeds
We did a little preliminary winter weed study while we were out traipsing around the woods. There were plenty of subjects even with snow on the ground. I just liked the way this one looked. I think it is a corn lily. Next week we plan on doing a whole winter weed study so we will revisit these images then.
Winter Snoeshoe Hike
So our first real snowshoe of the year is over and we didn’t get rained or snowed on. We were bundled up warmly so it was really a delight to be outdoors exploring just the two of us. Mr. B decided his snowshoes were perfect and now we will be able to explore the woods in winter as part of our Outdoor Hour Challenges.

You can read more about hiking in winter on my Squidoo page for tips on how to make it fun:
Winter Nature Walks

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Snowshoe Adventures…Tramping Through the Woods


I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.

~Henry David Thoreau

By now you are more than likely tired of seeing my snowshoe photos but since the season is full of opportunities to hike out there in the snowy goodness, I will continue to share some of the best shots and stories from our wanderings.

This trip was a sisters trip and my big sis and I spent part of our weekend out in the sunshine hiking/wandering, taking photos, talking, sharing aches and pains, and nourishing our love of beautiful landscapes. We heard Steller’s jays and nuthatches as we “tramped” through the woods.The creek sounds were always in the background and every now and then the quack of a mallard was heard over the crunching of our shoes.

This particular place is known for being a bear and eagle habitat. Although I have seen bears here in the summer and fall, I have never seen an actual bear or signs of bear in the winter. There are plenty of other animal tracks around but never any bear tracks. My sister was still a little uneasy but we did not see a bear on this trip, thank goodness, or she would have never let me forget about it.

There has been no fresh snow in awhile but there were places where we really did need the snowshoes. The weather was warm and I ended up just with a fleece jacket, no gloves, and my light knit hat. My sister was trying out a new set of snowshoes which were much smaller and lighter than mine. She said they were very easy to get used to and we felt good about being out for a long walk….not totally by ourselves in the woods but still alone enough to feel peaceful and refreshed.

Aspens with Snow and a Trail
We wandered through the woods and only once did we need to take our snowshoes off and jump across the creek. Yes, I said jump.  I didn’t feel very graceful as I made the leap across into the snowbank but there was no one else around to see me….

The aspens make such a visual treat with their beautiful trunks.

Taylor Creek with winter Bushes Red

Yes, the limbs of the bare bushes are that pinky-red in real life. Amazing color along the creek for a winter scene. I was so surprised that my point and shoot was able to capture the exact look of this winter creek.

Mountains and Taylor Creek Reflection
Does it get any better than this? With a little effort my sister and I made it out to the end of the creek where it spills into the lake. The snow had all melted on this side of the water and we took off our snowshoes and stood in awe of the mountains, the snow, the reflections, the sky, the peacefulness of this place. I felt like I was in some beautiful outdoor cathedral and I sent my thanks to our Grand Creator for the gift of this afternoon.

Outdoor Photographer Sister

There is my sister taking some photos of her own. We share a love for the outdoors and photography and she is an amazing nature photographer. All too soon we realized the day was coming to a close and we needed to make the hike back to the car. We were tired but it was a good kind of tired.

I hope to get up to the snow at least one more time, probably with my boys if we can fit in the time.

I am not the only one that has snowshoes.  Don’t miss reading another mom’s experience with her snowshoes…it will warm your heart: Pink Snowshoes by Richelle at Educating Mother.

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Bright Shiny Day Snowshoe Hike

The sun was out and we jumped on the chance to go to the snow for some fun and refreshment.

Let’s just say it was breathtaking….far too awesome for words.
(Not sure if you are on an email subscription if the video shows up, but you can click over to my blog and view a 30 second video of the landscape.)

It was so quiet and we had the whole place to ourselves. This is the best kind of hike…time to enjoy the quiet and the beauty. Look at those cattails. It reminds me that in the summer this place is hopping with red-winged blackbirds and egrets. This day we saw nuthatches, mountain chickadees, and a raven. It was surprisingly quiet.

Taylor Creek 1
The beavers have actually dammed up the regular waterway and it is now flowing around the right side instead of straight through. Fascinating.

Winter Snow at Taylor Creek
Some of the creek is actually all covered over with snow…you can see openings where the water is frozen over. As many years as we have been coming here in the winter, we have never seen this before.

Mammal tracks at Taylor Creek
Not very many tracks in the snow this time…

Snowshoe Jan 2010
As usual, we end up spreading out and just taking the trail at our own pace. We are usually all within eyesight of each other but keeping a nice distance in between.

As much as I hate to miss a day of regular schoolwork, we really needed this day to wander out in the sunshine and fresh air.

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What a Difference a Week Makes!

Backyard in the snow 12 7 09
Our first winter snow! This is the most snow we have had in December ever!

Garden in the Snow
Here is my garden all covered in a blanket of snow. Last week I was hopeful about the broccoli but even the protective frame that I built over the top is covered in snow…..seems like winter has arrived.

We took off on our snowshoes to see what the neighborhood was like on this first snowy morning. Here I am about 1/4 mile from our backstreet. There were a few children out throwing snowballs and a man walking his dog but we pretty much had the whole street to ourselves. I always forget how quiet it is when there is snow.
Leaves in the snow

We lost a few big branches from the trees that still had leaves on them. The evergreens held up pretty well but the oaks and sweet gums just aren’t built for this much snow.

Snow bear and Kona
Later on in the day, we all built what ended up being a snow bear in the front yard. Even our Kona dog “helped”.

The next morning we had icicles like never before.
Today is really, really cold for our area….15 degrees. The ice is thick on the roads and I am hoping my husband is careful on the way to work. He has to travel over the river and then climb up into the mountains to get to his station and yesterday it was treacherous. I can only imagine today’s drive. He has chained up the truck and he assures me he will be careful. I will be waiting for his call once he arrives.

Sunset in the snow
Amanda hiked up to the top of our hill to see the sunset. The sky was pink and lavender and after such a stormy night and morning, it was great to see the sun again.

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Snowshoe Adventure: Tahoe Snowshoe Hare

This was an outdoor weekend spent in the Sierras. We spent an afternoon taking a hike on snowshoes. It looks really cold and dreary in this photo but it was really not all that cold…above freezing by a few degrees. I could have done with a few less layers. 🙂 I took off my gloves for awhile and that helped. Most people we saw on the trail were on cross country skis but we enjoyed the crunch, crunch , crunch of snowshoes. I was on the lookout for mammal tracks.

We saw lots of canine tracks beside the trail but as we worked our way up from the lake into the conifers, we were rewarded with these tracks.

In this area there were many little “rabbit trails” giving us a clue as to what sort of mammal was in the area. I came home and discovered that they are more than likely Tahoe Snowshoe Hare tracks. (Lepus americanus tahoensis) See snowshoe hare.

We are new to identifying tracks so if anyone thinks they are from a different animal, please leave me a comment.

Not only did we see some mammal tracks but we were treated to a “new to us” bird. The red-breasted nuthatch. He was seen clinging to the side of this pine, sticking his head into little holes looking for some bark insects. He moved easily in all directions while clinging to the bark. Amazing.

Red-breasted nuthatch

I was busy taking photos when a bunch of ducks flew into view. We saw them later eating some seeds that a fellow hiker had left along the shore. They were later joined by a few Canadian geese.

So I think we had a successful outing….we did manage to find some mammal tracks in the snow and that was our aim.

From the Handbook of Nature Study, page 217,
” An interesting relative of the cottontail is the varying hare or snow-show rabbit that lives in the wooded regions of north-eastern North America. Of all animals he is one of the most defenseless; foxes, mink, and other flesh-eating inhabitants of the woods find him an easy prey. He has not even a burrow to flee to when pursued by his enemies…..He has one important advantage over his enemies: twice each year his heavy coat of fur is shed. In the summer the coat is a reddish brown that so blends with his surroundings that he is hardly noticeable; in the winter it is perfectly white so that against a background of snow he is nearly invisible.”

Anna Botsford Comstock has included pages 215-219 with information on the cotton-tailed rabbit. I found these pages very useful in coming up with a way to study our snowshoe hare. Even though the information doesn’t completely apply to our hare, we can adapt her activities to our study.

Winter nature study at its best.