Outdoor Hour Challenge – Summer Brook Study


Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Brook Study @handbookofnaturestudy

 Summer Brook Study – From the Archives

Brook Study

For Members: This challenge is found in the Autumn 2015 Nature Study ebook.

We last visited our brooks back in December and I always like to do a comparison study in a different study. Even if you didn’t complete the brook challenge back in the winter, get started with your own brook nature study now during the summer. We always find something interesting along the water’s edge and if you can take a container to dip and fill with water, I am sure you are going to find even more to be excited about. Use the ideas in the archive challenge to get started.

Make sure to look for things like tracks in the mud, insects hiding under gravel or rocks, and insects (like the caddisfly or the water strider).

For Members:

Brook and Stream Mini Grid Study

Look in the Ultimate and Journey level printables for this Brook and Stream Nature Study printable.

Plus members can download and use the February 2016 Rocks and Creeks newsletter for additional ideas to use with this challenge.

Ultimate Naturalist Library June 2016 @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Mom’s Journal – Summertime

oregon coast tidepool collage july 2016If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen some glimpses of our outdoor life this past month. We keep finding excuses for getting out of the house and taking advantage of the summer temperatures and sunshine to explore some familiar and new to us places. My husband has worked in wildland fire fighting for over 20 years so we never really had a “normal” summer where we could take a week’s vacation. Now that he is nearing his retirement, he is making the choice to arrange his schedule to be able to take off a day here and there and even a week for a camping trip. It is wonderful!

oregon trip 2016 tolowa kayak (6)I realized as I wrote this post that I haven’t taken a really good photo of us in the kayak…I promise I will this month and share a little about our new water adventures using this slow and quiet means of transport. It makes for some wonderful nature watching!

tigerswallowtail in the butterfly bushIn the garden….we are experiencing a lot of butterflies this year. My office window is on the second floor over the front yard garden and I see butterflies flutter by as I work. Sometimes I just can’t resist running out there with my camera to try to capture their beauty. This tiger swallowtail was a perfect subject against the bright summertime blue sky. I never get tired of watching these magnificent creations.

fiery skipper on the butterfly bushNot quite as majestic, but still amazing, are the fiery skippers with their huge eyes and antennae.

mollusk nature journal pageWe had such a great time learning about the marine snails (mollusks) on our trip to Oregon. There is just so much to learn and my husband has become my most devoted nature partner. We read and explore and then research some more about whatever catches our interest. This is such a great way of learning as we self-direct the topics and ways in which we learn. If you have any doubts about this kind of learning for your children, you may want to try it yourself to see the way it reaches your heart. It is the connections we make as we learn that make the deepest impact on our life. I will never look at the lowly marine snail in the same way again.

Nature Study books In this image you can see the stack of books I had on my desk this morning. I have been doing a lot of reading and research and it really shows in the variety of books that have collected there on my desktop.

Morning glory bursting open

I have a pot of morning glories outside my back window and I can see it from my kitchen sink. Every morning there is a beautiful surprise unfolding in the early hours. I love this image of the flower puffing out and bursting open. This is the actual color of the blossom as it was opening today…amazing!

Outdoor Mom’s Journal

Whether your family spends a few minutes a week outside or hours at a time, share what is going on in your world.

How Do You Join?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time this week we went….
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
  • I added nature journal pages about….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…


Outdoor Hour Challenge Plans for Sept 16 to March 17 @handbookofnaturestudy

 You can use the free monthly newsletter along with the Handbook of Nature Study book for your nature study. Adding a membership gives you access to the Ultimate Naturalist Library’s ebooks and printablse which provides members with even more in-depth studies each month.

Read more about it!




Snail Observations at the Tidepools

Snail Study at the Oregon Coast @handbookofnatuestudy

This month as I wrote the Handbook of Nature Study newsletter, I really didn’t think I would find any snails to observe up close. Some topics are like that and I don’t anticipate having the opportunity to see the month’s focus topic in person. But, many times I am proven wrong and all of my preparation for the study is rewarded with an awesome experience.

Oregon Coast Tidepool Snails

This happened while camping on the Oregon coast when we found lots and lots of black turban snails (Tegula funebralis)  to view up close and in detail.

Here is a short YouTube video that we uploaded showing the animal that lives inside the shell:Black Turban

Black Turban Snail Oregon Coast

This is the star of our nature study…the black turban which in real life looks quite blue or purple. We discovered the reason for this doing some research once we were able to get on the internet. Take a close look at who is living on the outer shell of this black turban! Amazing since the size of the snail shell is probably a little over an inch….it just looks bigger in my close up images. (click on the photo to really see it)

Oregon Coast tidepools and snails

They get pounded by the surf and it actually wears away the outer shell to expose the colorful layers underneath. This image shows just how plentiful they are on this part of the coast. This is only exposed at low tide so the black turban actually can capture some water inside its shell and then “plug” it up with the operculum to keep itself moist until the tide rises again and they are under water. Amazing creation!

oregon trip 2016 tidepools harris beach  (7)

If you look closely at the images, you may spy some limpets and barnacles on the rocks surrounding the snails and also on the snails outer shell! This was not apparent to use until we looked at the images and is quite common.

Want to learn more about the Oregon Tidepools? Here is a wonderful and helpful link: Oregon Tidepools.

Just a sidenote: I found a wonderful page on the Monterey Bay Aquarium that features many invertebrates that you might like to share with your children. So many of these don’t look like they should be invertebrates so it may spark some interest in the topic for your family. Plus, it is a beautiful page! Invertebrates – Animal Guide

mollusk nature journal pageHere is my very sloppy journal page for our discovery…it is more about the learning than the journal at this point in my life. I hope it inspires you to create something after your snail study!

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Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter August 2016 Cover image