Outdoor Hour Challenge- Autumn Prickly Lettuce Nature Study

We had a rather large crop of prickly lettuce in our yard this summer, so I can say from firsthand experience that it’s an interesting topic for a nature study lesson. Do you have a child that likes to use a compass? The lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study suggests using your compass as part of your observation of the prickly lettuce plant.

Prickly Lettuce wildflower weed outdoor hour challenge (1)

The prickly lettuce is also a great subject for a lesson on thorns, spines, and prickles. Make sure to observe the prickles and talk about how this protects the plant from being eaten by animals.

Prickly Lettuce wildflower weed outdoor hour challenge (4)

Outdoor Hour Challenge Prickly Lettuce @handbookofnaturestudy

View the original challenge here: Outdoor Hour Challenge – Prickly Lettuce. 

Prickly Lettuce Notebook Page 1

Prickly Lettuce Notebook Page 2

If you have access to the ebook, there are two notebook pages to choose from for your nature journal.

Prickly Lettuce wildflower weed outdoor hour challenge (3)

Alternate study: Look for the idea posted earlier this month for Creating a Weed Bouquet.

Handbook of Nature Study Autumn Nature Study 2015 Cover Image

Sample to view: Outdoor Hour Challenge Autumn Nature Study 2015 Sample Pages

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Topics in this ebook include:

  • Swallows and swifts
  • Catfish
  • Jewelweed
  • Prickly lettuce
  • Cockroach
  • Field horsetail
  • Catbird
  • Calcite, limestone, marble
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Hedgehog fungi
  • Sapsucker
  • Brooks



Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020




Nature Goals 2020 3rd Quarter Update

Nature Goals 2020

3rd Quarter Update


Nature Study Goals 2020

To refresh your memory, here’s a list of my nature study goals for the year 2020 along with our efforts towards reaching those goals.

Goal 1- Keep a nature journal. I shared earlier this year how my life has been full of so many unexpected responsibilities and this has impacted my ability to stay current with my nature journaling. But now that things have slowed down just a bit, I’m back on track to “catching up” with a lot of the pages I imagined creating when I was crazy busy with life. I’ve been sharing a few images of my nature journal pages on Instagram, but here are a couple that I hope inspire you in your efforts.

nature journal pages 2020

Goal 2 – Add to our backyard habitat. This really has been a focal point of our outdoor life in 2020. I’ve found such comfort in being outside digging in the ground and walking in the garden. We tackled a huge section of lawn and transformed it into a wildflower and sunflower garden that attracted birds, bees, butterflies, and toads over the summer and even now into the autumn. I’ll be sharing the process in future posts.

wildlife garden remodel summer 2020

Here’s a short list of what we did to add to our wildlife garden so far in 2020.

  • Replaced grass with natives and wildflowers.
  • Planted bushes that have flowers for pollinators and berries for the birds to eat.
  • Added two crabapple trees.
  • Moved a bird bath where we could keep it full every day.
  • Added more nesting boxes – attracting swallows, western bluebirds, chickadees, and wrens.
  • Added more large rocks and moved a stump for shelter.

sahalie falls oregon august 2020

Goal 3 – Take local hikes. Using a local hiking guide, we’ve been on a couple exciting new hikes this summer. I really need to share blog entries for both (add them to my writing schedule). I must admit that at first, we were hesitant to get out and hike during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, once we gave it a try, we realized that we could safely be outdoors and for the most part we observed others being as cautious as we were by wearing masks and staying distanced.

field guide notes 2020

Goal 4 – Make notes in my field guides. I find such joy in recording in my field guides the dates and places I observe subjects. The problem is that I don’t do this consistently, either because I don’t take the time, or I don’t have a pen to mark it down. So, I took a morning and paged through my wildflower field guide and at least made a check mark next to all the wildflowers I can remember seeing in real life. If I remembered where I saw the wildflower, I noted that as well. Now I am keeping a pen inside each of my field guides so there is no excuse for not keeping notes when the time comes.

Goal 5 – Continue to participate in Project Feederwatch and the Great Backyard Bird Count. We participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count back in February and we are eagerly waiting for November 14, 2020 when we start counting feeder birds again as part of Project Feederwatch.

Goal 6 – Visit a new national park. This sadly may be a goal we do not reach this year because of all the COVID-19 restrictions. We had a road trip all planned out for June 2020 to Olympic National Park (in Washington state) but we had to cancel all of those reservations. I’m not going to give up on those plans and since I have all my notes and itinerary still in my planner, I can easily book another trip when we can travel more freely and into Canada. Yes, our trip even included a jaunt up into British Columbia! Another change since making this goal is that we sold our rather large travel trailer. We may need to wait until we find a new smaller trailer that fits our needs as we ease our way into retirement.

All in all, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of working towards and reaching our nature study goals this year. I’ve now made a few notes in my planner to work on fully accomplishing the goals we can achieve by the end of the year.

Did you make goals for 2020? Were you able to reach some of them?



Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

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Autumn Wildflower Study: Milkweed Observations

Alternate Autumn Wildflower Study

Autumn Milkweed Observations


Many families live in areas where you can readily find milkweed growing. Autumn is a fantastic season to start a milkweed study because the pods and seeds are so amazing and fascinating to most of us.

Milkweed+Seeds+autumn.jpgYou can use this link to see our Autumn Milkweed Study from a few years ago.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Milkweed Study @handbookofnaturestudy

The original Outdoor Hour Challenge for the autumn milkweed study is found here: Outdoor Hour Challenge – Milkweed.

More Nature Study Autumn Cover imageAs an added bonus, the sample challenge from the More Nature Study – Autumn ebook is the milkweed study.  You can take a look at what the challenge looks like in the ebook by downloading the sample.

>>>>>>Milkweed Challenge with notebook pages and a coloring page.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

All ebooks referenced above are included in an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

This is a perfect time to purchase a membership for your upcoming school year.

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