Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Silent Walk

Silent Nature Walk Outdoor Hour Challenge @handbookofnaturestudyOutdoor Hour Challenge

Winter Silent Walk- from the archives

Thinking back on this challenge found in the archives, I remember well the day we accomplished it back in early 2012. My youngest son and I spent an afternoon hiking on our favorite trail but we hiked a distance apart so that we were not tempted to talk or share at all. Comparing our journals later, it brought into focus the idea that two people walking on the same trail can have completely different experiences.

If you can figure out a way to take a silent nature walk, see if you have the same results. Do your individual experiences match the groups? Do you observe things differently? Are you able to see and hear and feel more if you are silent as you walk?

My husband and I regularly take silent walks because we have realized there is a better chance of something catching our attention if we are not preoccupied with conversation. Also, I think the birds and animals don’t scatter as you come down the trail and many times you are able to see the squirrels, deer, etc or at least notice them as they move for cover as you draw near.

Use the suggestions in the archive challenge (or the idea for a Quiet Walk in December’s newsletter) for a variation of your normal nature study activities.

Leave me a comment if you have any success on your walk or you want to share an experience.

Winter Wonder walk journal

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter 2016 More Nature Study WinterThe winter series of challenges will start on January 13, 2017.



Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter – December 2016 Nature Walks


HNS Newsletter Dec 2016 Cover image

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter

December 2016 – Nature Walks


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This month’s newsletter link will be available only during the month of December so be sure to download it before 12/31/16.

Remember! All of the archived and current newsletters are available as part of the Ultimate Naturalist Library…every level!

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter Dec 2016 button

Contents of this edition of the newsletter include:

  • My special article this month shares a new idea for a nature walk, the 3 Questions Walk. This fresh idea can be done on any walk you take and will help your child personalize their nature learning.
  • December Planning Page for Mom – Much more than just a planner page, this is full of nature journal ideas, tips for nature walks, links to the up-coming challenges, and ideas for using the archives.
  • Printables: Silent Nature Walk notebook page and four nature walk ideas activity page from the archives.
  • Show and Tell and my favorite links for the month.

Resources for your Nature Library: I have started to build a nature library store on Amazon that will feature by category my favorite nature study books and resources. Take a look and see if there is anything you would like to put on your wish list for your family’s nature study library: Handbook of Nature Study Nature Library Suggestions on Amazon.com. Note this is my affiliate store to items I personally recommend and have read or seen in person.

Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter 2016 More Nature Study We will be using the More Nature Study – Winter ebook starting in January 2017. You can find it in the Ultimate Naturalist Library.






Newberry National Volcanic Monument – Tips and Images


Newberry National Volcanic Monument Tips and Images @handbookofnaturestudy

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

We were visiting the Bend, Oregon area and on a whim we decided to explore the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. We looked up on the internet and saw that the Lava Lands visitor center (just off Hwy 97) opened at 10 AM so we made our way there just after they opened. (Their season ends on 10/31 and they open again 5/1.)

IMG_5899It was a rather small center but the volunteer docent that was working that morning gave us the pertinent details to make our trip educational and enjoyable. It was a big help! It is always amazing to me how learning from someone who is passionate about something makes it twice as interesting. He made the information practical and knew just how much detail to go into as he explained what we would see and what we could experience.

IMG_5901We started off by driving up to the top of the Lava Butte in our car. You are required to have a car pass at this time of year but in high season you need to ride the free shuttle to the top because of limited parking. There is a short trail that takes you around the crater’s rim and you can visit the working fire lookout. We were intrigued by the red road that wound its way up to the top of the butte.

IMG_5918It was sunny but near freezing temperatures the day we visited so we bundled up before our hike. The views of the surrounding landscape and volcanoes and peaks was awesome. After the wonderful explanation by the docent at the visitor center, we could recognize the natural features he had shared with us using the model.

IMG_5904Here is a view as we drove up the road and looked towards the Cascades.

IMG_5921Our next stop was to drive the short distance to the Benham Falls parking lot. These were not really “falls” but rather a series of rapids in the river. It was a really nice day for a hike so we enjoyed just seeing something new.

IMG_5933On this day, we had the trail and river to ourselves. Besides the solitude, I think my favorite thing about this hike was the peaceful river and the volcanic rocks. If we have packed a lunch, we would have hiked further but we will have to do that another time.

For a spur of the moment trip, this turned out to be a very enjoyable day.


Things we need to do on subsequent visits:


  • There is an entrance fee. If you hold an annual pass from the national park service, this will get you in!
  • Check the website for the visitor center hours before you visit.
  • Restrooms at the visitor center.
  • Closest towns are La Pine and Sunriver.

You can read more of my national park entries by following these links: