Nature Study Goals for 2013

I love making goals and then seeing them achieved…but honestly, I love the journey as much as the achievement. Especially when it comes to nature study, always having a goal or focus helps make things happen. The Outdoor Hour Challenge is really just a way of breaking nature study goals down into weekly steps. Each challenge gives us a way to focus for a few minutes with our children on something that could easily be skipped if we aren’t careful.

This year I feel a shift is coming in our family’s nature study. I am for the first time making my own personal nature study goals and inviting any of my family members along with me when they have time and an interest. I find that as I become involved in a particular area of nature study that my family naturally falls in line with that interest and in the process of supporting my nature study, they learn something as well. (Sneaky but it works.)

Would you like to see my personal nature study goals for 2013? Some are related to the Outdoor Hour Challenges we will be completing together here on the blog and some are more specialized to my area of the world. Feel free to make your own list and you might like to do what I am doing, print out a copy of the goals and insert them in the front of your nature journal. I am also taking each goal and actually scheduling in some dates in my planner, in pencil of course just so I be flexible as the opportunities arise.

Barb’s Nature Study Goals for 2013

  • Learn about ten new birds, including nature journal entries and learning their calls.
  • Learn about five new trees in my local area.
  • Learn about five scrubs that I see along my walking trail or our favorite hiking trail.
  • Take four new hikes. (These are tentatively planned in my planner along with maps.)
1. Leopard Lily, 2. 7 09 Deer at Yosemite, 3. Sequoia, 4. Steller’s Jay at Yosemite National park

Visit Yosemite in all four seasons and focus on some aspect of nature each time:

  • Spring – trees/birds
  • Summer – wildflowers/waterfalls
  • Autumn – mammals
  • Winter – rocks

I am not sure if I will stick to the topics listed above or allow each trip to unfold some aspect of nature to learn about. I am also going to invite some friends along with me, sharing my love for this awesome place with people who have never been there even though we live just a few hours away.

Now for the big goal that I will need help from my family in achieving. I am challenging myself to take on a rock related nature study project which will hopefully teach me new skills and lead to some adventures. My husband and I are going to try to collect all fifteen rocks discussed in the Rocks, Fossils and Arrowheads (Take-Along Guides). After going over each rock in the book, we searched online for places that we could realistically find each specimen. It will mean taking a few trips to new places and finding ways that we can legally collect each one. Several of the rocks we have access to on a daily basis like granite and slate but even for these specimens I want to make a proper display and journal entry. We just came up with this idea a few days ago and already our wheels are turning, plans are being made and our hopes are high that we can achieve our goal.

I am going to be taking the year of 2013 and trying to use far less plastic than we have been as a family. I am slowly going to be adding new routines and habits that will support a lifestyle that will use less disposable plastic. I will be sharing my journey.

I am looking forward to what we will experience and learn this year as we continue our journey learning about the wonderful awe-inspiring creations we have all around us.

If you had to pick one nature study related goal this year, what would it be?

Leave me a comment with your goal and perhaps I can work some of your ideas into up-coming Outdoor Hour Challenges or write posts with suggestions on how to achieve your goals.


  1. When you mentioned in your last post that you were planning this blog post, I decided that it would be a good idea for me to write a list of our family’s goals for this year.

    Here’s mine.

  2. I really like the idea of Nature Study goals for the year. I like your list as well. Thank you for sharing it because it makes it a lot easier for me to make my own using yours as an example.

  3. Thank you so much for all your inspiration!! Great ideas for our year too. :)

  4. Thank you so much for your inspiration!! Great ideas for us to use this year as well.

  5. Oh, Barb, I can’t wait to read about your adventures in rock hunting! I’m also looking forward to your journey toward using less plastic. (We could use some help in that department.)

  6. I’ve never been so interested in birds as I am right now. My husband put up 4 new birdfeeders. Right by the windows. I have seen birds I’ve never really looked at before- like a tufted titmouse?? who knew they lived near me? Anyway- good luck with your goals! I’m sure you’ll accomplish them and I look forward to hearing about them.

  7. Cristy- Feb is bird month so we will work on birds together!
    Phyllis – I would love to see your list if you would like to share.
    Erin-Thanks for the comment.
    Debi-I plan on posting every month how our reducing plastic is going.
    Lisa- 4 new feeders! That is exciting…you should plan on participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count.

  8. Barb, I am glad to hear that you will return to birds next month. We will definitely join in.

  9. I love the idea of making specific nature study goals! I’ll have to ponder this. Right now mine is vague, just to do more of it! ;)

  10. Jamie,

    The easiest thing to do is to get my newsletter each month and print out the grid study for the topic. Keep it visible and just complete a few of the squares as you have time or the opportunity arises. Just play along…

  11. I love your less-plastic resolution (“goal”). Three years ago I vowed I would recycle more.Back then the bin would take a few weeks to fill. Now it’s the trashcans that are almost untouched! I’m going to think about how to take this further! Thanks!
    My latest post I Have a Crush on My Math Teacher

  12. thanks so much for sharing. I am going to make some nature study goals for myself this year. The first is going to be to draw in my nature journal the birds that I am having my daughter draw in hers. I usually only draw in my journal when we go in a hike. I also like the idea of taking some new hikes this year.

  13. I really like the idea of making specific nature study goals for myself. Great motivation! I will definitely need to think on this and put some together. I also think I will talk to my children to see if they have any goals for the year that I can help them achieve if necessary.

  14. You are always an inspiration!
    I wrote down my goals and feel much more focused, thanks to you and this post.
    Thank you!

  15. We have started following a Charlotte Mason style curriculum, so my goals are to get more organized, and actually get outside. Then I believe Nature will take care of the rest. Your site is very helpful in working toward that. We actually just found a nest of Mockingbird babies in the bush next to our porch. (wish I had known they were there sooner. So that is our jumping off point. Than you for all you do for the homeschool community.

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