Outdoor Hour Challenge – Learn About a Pine Tree

“At least one pine tree should be studied in the field. Any species will do, but the white pine is the most interesting….the leaves and cones may be studied in the schoolroom, each pupil having a specimen.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 674

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The wonderful thing about a pine tree study is that you can do it at any time of the year. Since they are evergreen, you can examine the needles even when there is snow on the ground. After that, look at the bark and find some cones too! Have a great time using the suggestions in the Outdoor Hour Challenge linked below and the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study.

Winter Pine Tree Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study Lesson 185 pages 670-675

Check the Handbook of Nature Study index for other tree related challenges for winter.

From the Original Challenge: Simple Suggestions for Pine Tree Study:

  • What is the general shape of the pine tree?
  • Is there one central stem running straight up through the center of the tree to the top?
  • What color is the bark? Is the bark ridged or in scales?
  • Study the pine leaves. Why are they called needles? How many needles in the bundle?
  • Does it have a cone?

Make sure to click the link below to read the entire Outdoor Hour Challenge with helpful links, nature study ideas, and suggested follow-up activities.

Winter Pine Tree Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study Lesson 185 pages 670-675

Bark Patterns Notebook Page

If you’re a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study, you can download the Bark Patterns Notebook Page and use it as part of your tree study.

 

Winter Nature Study ebooks graphic and promo

A custom notebook page for this challenge is available in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership in the Winter Ebook. Log into your membership and scroll down to the ebook download link.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon.com links to tree books I own and love!

A Walk in the Boreal Forest

My Favorite Tree- Click over to see my entry for this awesome book that also includes a free printable!

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Cattail Study

 

We started a yearlong study of cattails back in September and now’s the time to start thinking about making some winter observations of this interesting plant. We have a patch growing out along a pond near our home and we will be trekking over to take a look as soon as we have a sunny, warm day. We’ve had quite a bit of snow and the pond should be frozen so that should make it interesting.

Here’s a link to the Autumn Cattail Study if you’d like to take a look at that: Autumn Cattail Study using the Handbook of Nature Study.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Cattail Observations @handbookofnaturestudy

Winter Cattail Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 500-503

(See suggestion #7 for winter work.)

In addition to the ideas in the Handbook of Nature Study, you can make the following observations.

  1. Observe the stems and any leaves that are left.
  2. Are any of the cattail seed pods left intact? What does the “cattail” part of the plant look like now?
  3. What are the conditions where the cattails are growing? Is there water, ice, or snow?
  4. What color and shape are the leaves?
  5. Can you pull some of the fuzz from the cattail and observe it more closely?
  6. How do you think the seeds spread, by wind or water?
  7. How crowded are the cattails growing together?

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Link to the notebook page: Seasonal Cattail Notebook Page

 

Make sure to click the link below to read the entire Outdoor Hour Challenge with helpful links, nature study ideas, and suggested follow-up activities.

Winter Cattail Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 500-503

 

Winter Nature Study ebook @handbookofnaturestudy

Please note this challenge is found in the Winter Series ebook found in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. Log into your membership and scroll down to the ebook download link. Included in the ebook, there is a custom notebook page for this challenge.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

 

 

 

 

Our Winter Willow Observations-Buds, Galls, and Beavers

This was the week we made our winter willow observations. It’s been cold and snowy, but we put on our boots and hiked out to the willow we tied the string onto earlier in autumn. I’m glad we marked it with a string back in the autumn because right now all the willows look very similar.

12 31 18 winter willow study gall  (2)

 

Here’s a photo of the willow, leafless and bare except for a few straggly brown leaves.

12 31 18 winter willow study gall  (3)

 

Isn’t this color amazing? From a distance the willows are a rusty red but up close they are a bright orange. There are small buds just waiting to burst open once the season turns warmer.

12 31 18 winter willow study gall  (5)

It was exciting to find a rose shaped insect gall on a branch. I learned all about this interesting creation last year and it’s still thrilling to discover another one this season.

12 31 18 winter willow study gall  (1)

It looks like a wooden rose on the willow…so pretty.

 

12 31 18 winter willow study gall  (4)

It’s no surprise to us that the beavers have been harvesting branches from the willows since the autumn season. You can see the evidence of their work in the image above. This is just another chapter in our beaver story…I’ve grown to appreciate their part of the habitat and its changing development.

It’s never too late to start your own year-long willow study, even if you didn’t start it back in autumn. Pick up here and join us! Click the graphic below to go to the original winter study challenge here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Willow StudyPerhaps you don’t have any willows to study in your neighborhood, but I invite you to take a look at the winter seasonal nature study ideas I’ve collected over the years. You may just find a topic that interests your family and you can get started with your own year-long study. Click the graphic below and see the complete list.

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Winter Season Nature Study – Seasonal Ideas