Year-Long Study Reminders – Autumn Season

Year Long Nature Study Autumn Reminders @handbookofnaturestudy

Here are some ideas from year-long nature study topics we have done in the past:

You may wish to start a new year-long study this autumn using some of the ideas above. If you have a continuing year-long nature study project, don’t forget to put it on your calendar or you may forget to make your autumn observations. If you are using the new planning page from the newsletter, there is a box on each page to note the seasonal observations you wish to make during the month…we all need reminders!

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Burdock Wildflower Study


Budock Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

NOTE: Once again this week, if you don’t find any burdock in your neighborhood, please pick another weed or wildflower to study.

Inside Preparation Work

  • Read pages 527-529 (Lesson 142) in the Handbook of Nature Study. Read through the lesson activity suggestions for ideas to use in your family. Discuss how the burdock is a “selfish” plant.
  • Watch this video to mainly see what the leaves and roots look like: Wild Edibles. It is up to you whether you want to try eating it or not, I mainly like this video because it gives a clear look at what burdock looks like so you can search in your local area.
  • Here is a fantastic source for information about burdock: Common Burdock.
  • This site has clear images for identification: Natural Biodiversity.
  • Advanced Study Idea: Watch this video showing how the idea for Velcro came from the burrs of a burdock plant:

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • This time of year you should be able to identify both first and second year burdock plants. The first year plants will have a basal arrangement of leaves and the second year will have the flower stalk, flowers, and perhaps stickers.
  • Collect some burrs from the burdock plant to look at under your magnifying lens at home.
  • Advanced Study: If you have permission, dig up a burdock plant and carefully sketch and label the plant’s parts in your nature journal.
  • If you don’t have any burdock to study, make sure to look for another plant with sticker burrs to observe.

Follow-Up Activity

  • Record in your nature journal your burdock observations. You can use the notebook page provided with the ebook. Younger children can use the coloring page in the ebook.
  • If you were able to collect some burrs from the burdock plant, look at them with a magnifying lens or microscope. Why do you think this part of the burdock plant led to the development of Velcro.
  • Advanced Study: Do research about invasive species of plants in your area and then complete the notebook page included in the ebook.

Additional Links

Here is a video:

Family Weed Study (No Teasel Here)

Teasel New York Trip

The first teasel I ever saw was in New York at Anna Botsford Comstock’s cottage on Cayuga Lake.


This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge was to look for and observe some Teasel. We were not expecting to see any teasel this week and we didn’t…not too disappointed and we didn’t let it stop us from taking some hikes to see some other weeds with prickles and interesting flowers.

yellow star thistle

We observed something with prickles….Yellow Star Thistle. This is a menace in our neighborhood and I immediately pull it out by the roots if I see it in my yard. We have friends that have a honey business and they insist that star thistle honey is the best. It is very light tasting and is one of my favorites.

curly dock 1

We also observed some Curly Dock. It is so colorful in the landscape right now. (More information on Cal Flora.)

curly dock 2

Sometimes you just need to go with whatever subjects present themselves.

King Fire Sunday

We are experiencing the King wildfire in our area which is a little scary. Each day we looked at the smoke and clouds and wondered how far it would come our way. Some of our friends were evacuated but so far we are safe here at home. The drought conditions in California are so severe and those dry conditions coupled with heat and windy afternoons make for perfect “fire weather”. This is from the bottom of my road.

King Fire Wednesday

This is from yesterday in town looking towards the fire. They call those clouds above the smoke “pyrocumulous“.


We are all praying for the fire to be contained and for all those evacuees to be allowed home to their homes. My husband is working on this fire but is in management with a job behind the scenes at base camp. He is tired but doing okay…this is what they do and they are accustomed to being under stress in emergency situations.

Hope you had a chance to get outside and look for some teasel or other weeds this week!



OHC Autumn Nature Study Continues Cover Button

This Outdoor Hour Challenge is included in the new Autumn Nature Study Continues ebook. It is only one of fifteen nature study topics included along with notebook pages and coloring pages. If you have an Ultimate or Journey level membership, you will find this ebook in your library!