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Nature Journal Pages – April Examples

Note: I found this entry in my drafts! I have been so busy over the past six weeks as we sold our house in California, purchased a house in Oregon, moved all our belongings, and tried to keep from getting to stressed out. It isn’t surprising then that a few things slipped through the cracks.

Here is my April nature journal entry for your enjoyment.


Weekly Nature Journal Project

April 2017

This month my nature journal is full of flowers. My world has been filled with flowers so it only makes sense that this is what made its way into my heart and then onto my journal pages. The first part of the month we were in Oregon, then back to California, then back to Oregon again. This pattern will be happening for the next few months while we transition our life to our new home.

Spring in Oregon nature journal @handbookofnaturestudy

Central Oregon is just starting to move from winter into spring, so it was fun to create a second spring page noting my observations in contrast to my previous California spring page.  I featured the crocus we saw and used a bright springy background of yellow for my journaling.

Mustard entry @handbookofnaturestudy

The first wildflower we studied from the new Wildflower Set #1 is the subject of the next page in my journal. We saw mustard all up and down the state of California.

April dogwood entry @handbookofnaturestudy

This is the second page in my year-long study of the dogwood tree. I think this is my favorite page of the month! I so enjoyed making careful and up close observations of this pretty flower…or rather flowers and bracts. The creamy color and delicate pink tinge may just make this my favorite flowering tree.

Purple chinese houses nature journal @handbookofnaturestudy

I think this is my first two page spread of the year. I wanted to sketch this flower and include a photo so it made sense to make it two pages facing each other. I included a list of the other flowers we found on this particular hike. It’s always nice to have a record to compare from year to year.

As we get ready to make our move to Oregon, I’m getting very sentimental about my home and garden here in California. Each day I try to make more mental notes of the sights and sounds. It’s comforting to know that many of those memories are tucked safely away in my journals. I packed my older nature journals into a box yesterday and was grateful for the time I have spent digging deeper into learning about my neighborhood’s flora and fauna. I also packed my children’s nature journals alongside mine in the box. I inherited those journals from them as they left home. You can be sure they will be treasured keepsakes of the 30 years we have lived here on Hilltop Drive.

From a hilltop to a riverbank….maybe next month you will see my new habitat make an appearance in my nature journal!


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


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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Field Mustard and Wild Radish

Outdoor Hour Challenge Mustard and Radish @handbookofnaturestudy


Outdoor Hour Challenge

Field Mustard and Wild Radish

From the Wildflower Nature Study Set #1

Inside Preparation:

  • The two wildflowers in this challenge are usually considered weeds and grow along the roadside or in fields. They bloom in early spring and are easy to spot with their colorful blossoms. Look for the mustard and/or wild radish plants in the early spring and on through the summer months.
  • Field Mustard (Brassica rapa)- Read about this plant. See the range: USDA.
  • Wild Mustard (Sinapis arvensis )- Read about this plant.
  • Wild Radish: (Raphanus raphanistrum)- Read about this plant. See the range: USDA.

Outdoor Hour Time:

Look in fields and along roadsides.

  • The challenge this week is to get outside and look for wildflowers, especially those in the mustard family. If you made a list of plants to be on the lookout for in addition to the mustard or radish, keep those in mind as well.
  • Make careful observations (Ebook users look for a notebook page to print and use.)

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Create a notebook page for the field mustard and the wild radish plants. (Ebook users look for a notebook page to print and use.)
  • Start a mustard family notebook page. Keep a running list over time of the flowers you observe and/or study in this plant family.
  • Advanced study: Research how the wild radish was introduced and spread across a lot of the western U.S. landscape.
  • Advanced study: Printable for field mustard.
  • Advanced study: Research and list in your journal the many edibles found in the mustard family.
  • Eat something with mustard!


Note: This week’s challenge is also the sample for the ebook: Wildflower Nature Study Set #1 Sample

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Set 1 Ebook

How do you get the new Wildflower Nature Study ebook?

Members of the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey levels have access to the new ebook in their library. You need to click the “Members Area” button at the top of the website, sign into your account, and the ebook is there to download and save for your family to use when desired. If you don’t have a membership yet, I am offering a $5 off discount code that will be good towards your Ultimate Naturalist membership.

Discount Code: Wildflower5




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Wildflower Series – Coming Soon to the Outdoor Hour Challenge


Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Set 1 Ebook

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Nature Study Set #1

Don’t miss the special promotion code at the bottom of this email!

Exciting News! I am creating NEW wildflower challenges based on flowers that I have become familiar with over the years. These are flowers that are NOT specifically covered in the Handbook of Nature Study written by Anna Botsford Comstock. They will be flowers that many of you know about and have seen in real life and now you can use the brand new OHC lessons to create a meaningful nature study for your children.  In addition to the specific flower, each challenge will help you learn about a different plant family.

This is a huge undertaking and much more time consuming than I originally anticipated, so I am going to create a series of smaller ebooks and release them over the next few years. I am planning on releasing the first set of five wildflowers by the end of March 2017. Then starting in April 2017, this series of fresh wildflower Outdoor Hour Challenges will post every Friday.  The ebook will contain custom designed notebooking pages for each wildflower, including more advanced pages for older students.

Please note the notebooking pages will only be available to ebook users and the ebook will be available for those that have an Ultimate or Journey level membership.


A Little Background

In choosing which flowers to start with in this series, I tried to narrow the list to early blooming plants that many of you will have access to in person. I’ve also included suggested substitutions for flowers that may also be common in your area by listing related flowers in the same plant family. Learning more about the plant families is something I’m going to be stressing in this new series of nature study ideas by referencing the Botany in a Day book and providing internet links for you to use as resources.


Want a sneak peek at the topics?

  • Wild Mustard and Wild Radish (mustard family)
  • Shooting Star (primrose family)
  • Lupine (pea family)
  • Purple Chinese House (figwort family)
  • Yarrow (composite family)


This new ebook will be loaded into the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level memberships soon!

Ultimate Naturalist Library @handbookofnaturestudy

If you aren’t a member yet, you still have time to join and have immediate access as soon as it publishes.

As a special promo, you can use the discount code WILDFLOWER5 for $5 off the Ultimate Naturalist Membership.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Membership

Join us in April for this interesting series of nature study challenges!

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Fields of Mustard – Cheerful February Scene

2 12 11 Wild mustard (2)
I was driving on a back road yesterday and found this sea of yellow field mustard all in bloom! It made me smile so I had to go home and get my camera to capture the showy display of yellow. This was an orchard of apples but a few years ago they took down the trees and now it has come alive with mustard. I realize this is another of our county’s invasive species but it sure is pretty.

2 12 11 Wild Mustard 1
I am in awe of just how beautiful this scene sparkles on this February day.

We took the opportunity to take a family hike in the sunshine and it was fairly uneventful. All three of my sons accompanying my husband and I for a hike down in the canyon. Kona dog came too and she was eager to explore.

Kona Hike at the Red Shack

Kona was wild on this hike so she had to sit for a minute in a little doggy “time out”. She brought home some ticks a few times in the past week so I am trying to keep her in the middle of the trail and then check her when we get back to the car. She has other ideas….her nose is just so curious.

I know much of our nation is still deep into winter cold and winter weather but here in our part of the world it is sunny and warm in the afternoons. I hope my images cheer you up!

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Wild Mustard

Or at least it is in my world. Mustard is a wildflower that we see in great numbers in our area starting about this time of year. I spotted this patch of mustard growing in an abandoned orchard near my house.
The Handbook of Nature Study, page 460:
“Because of their beauty and scientific value, special need exists for the protection of our native wild flowers and shrubs. It is understandable that these uncultivated plants should attract the visitor, but in too many instances he is not satisfied to enjoy their beauty as they exist in their natural habitats. All too frequently he picks flowers in large numbers, only to discard them faded and wilted a few hours later.”
(note this was written in 1911)
Look at those beautiful flowers.
“Some flowers are so abundant that they can be picked in moderation if the roots are not disturbed, if plenty of flowers are left for seed, and if the plant itself is not taken with the flower.”
Another beautiful spring day.