Nature Study Goals 2021

Nature Goals 2021

New Goals for 2021 and a Reflection on my 2020 Goals

Setting nature study goals each year has been a powerful tool in my life. Creating specific goals keeps you focused and then periodically reviewing the goals allows you to see what you’ve accomplished and how to further reach your goals by breaking the larger goals down into smaller bits. A few things have helped me be successful and I thought you might like to hear about those tips as you perhaps think about making your own nature study goals for 2021.

tent in backyard 2020

Be Flexible

First of all, don’t think of things you didn’t accomplish as “failures”. Maybe the timing wasn’t right for working on a particular goal. I’m thinking specifically of one of my 2020 goals to visit a new national park. I could not have anticipated the impact of a worldwide pandemic when I wrote that goal. Find a way to be flexible if you find you can’t achieve your original goal. We decided to build a “campsite” in our backyard where we could sleep outside whenever we felt like it. Some may call it “glamping”, but it really did fill the need to be outside in nature at night.

Review Your Goals Periodically

Another tip to achieving your nature study goals is to look at them periodically to see which ones can be added to your planner. I keep a weekly/monthly planner and I can add reminders to work at a goal. Can we go for a hike this week? Are we counting birds for Project Feederwatch this week? Do we need to get to the library to gather books for research and planning? Keep an eye on nature study goals as you go along.

Break Larger Goals into Smaller Steps

Breaking larger goals down into bite size pieces is also necessary to achieve more substantial nature study goals. For instance, planning a camping trip will involve some pre-planning. Deciding on a destination, reading about the habitat, making required reservations, gathering equipment, and blocking out time on the calendar are all steps that can be done to accomplish the larger goal of going camping.

Backyard remodel 2020

We achieved our rather large 2020 goal to build a backyard habitat for wildlife by following this tip. Sometimes it is the largeness of a goal that keeps us from reaching it. You can read the first installment in my series to see our first steps: Creating a Wildlife Habitat.

Make a Reasonable List

I also suggest keeping your goal list to a manageable size. It is easy to want to include a lot of great goals but as you start your list of goals, keep it simple. If you are just starting out with nature study, your goal list may only have a couple of items. You can always add things later in the year!

Create Achievable Goals – Don’t be too ambitious!

Another mistake I made in years past is to overestimate my long haul interest in a topic. For instance, one year I made the goal to learn about and then find in real life every rock in a particular book. Wow! That was hugely ambitious and would have taken a miracle to accomplish. We did manage to complete the study of quite a few rocks from the book but my interest really did wane after a few months. A more reasonable goal would have been to “learn more about the rocks in my local habitat”.

I hope you are encouraged to create your own nature study goals after reading my tips. My main message is to make sure you create a list that helps you with your own interests and supports your family getting outdoors to learn more about your own particular habitat.

So, without further ado, here is my list for the upcoming year.

Nature Study Goals 2021

 Nature Study Goals – 2021

Nature Journal Goals: I’m trying out a different format this year for my daily nature journal notes. I’m anxious to share this with you so watch for it in upcoming posts. I’m also testing out some ideas for the Member’s Library that includes a perpetual nature journal using notebook pages I’ve designed. It’s most definitely a work in progress and I’ll be adding them to the Member’s Library after seeing which style works best for me.

  1. Backyard Habitat development: We’re going to keep adding to the wildlife garden we started last year and hopefully add some more beneficial elements that are practical and beautiful in our Central Oregon climate.
  2. Local Hikes: I’m determined to try to find places to hike in all seasons.
  3. Make notes in field guides: This is a project I started last year and I think it’s just a part of what I do now with my field guides.
  4. Project Feederwatch and Great Backyard Bird Count: We are in the middle of the Project Feederwatch season already and it brings us such joy to see our backyard birds come each day.
  5. Go camping: We have a new, much smaller travel trailer now and this opens up some of the more rugged campsites in our area. We can be completely off grid and get out into the forest much easier. We’ve already mapped out some places we want to go explore. Even with COVID restrictions, we should be able to get outside and camp this summer.
  6. Learn about succulents: I’ve developed a love for succulents. The amazing variety and the beautiful colors and shapes have captured my heart. I became aware this year of the flowers that succulents have that I overlooked. So joyfully, right now my succulents are covered in snow and ice but I know that next summer they will again treat me to a colorful display. I have a great desire to learn more!


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

You can join as an Ultimate Naturalist Library member and immediately have access to hundreds of nature study ideas and printables. The library is growing every month and there are plans for publishing 2 new ebooks in 2021! If you join now, you’ll have access to those ebooks as soon as they publish!

Click the graphic above to see the complete benefits of a membership. Join and make 2021 the best year of nature study ever for your family!

Use the discount code NATURE5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership!

Winter Weather Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Winter Weather Nature Study

“Out in this, God’s beautiful world, there is everything waiting to heal lacerated nerves, to strengthen tired muscles, to please and content the soul that is torn to shreds with duty and care…. nature study is not a trouble; it is a sweet, fresh breath of air…She who opens her eyes and her heart nature-ward even once a week finds nature study…. a delight and an abiding joy.”
Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Botsford-Comstock

This week we are going to get outside and observe our January weather right in our own backyard. This is a quick and easy study that everyone can do regardless of where you live or what your current weather is outside.

First go to your Member’s Library. There are two printables for you to use as a follow up to your Outdoor Hour Challenge. Choose the activity that fits your needs best. See the images and instructions below.

January World Know Your Own Backyard Notebook Page

Know Your Own Backyard – January: This notebook page is a simple activity for your family. Take a few minutes and make some backyard observations and then follow up with a sketch and a short description of what you observed.

My Winter Weather Notebook Page

Winter Weather notebook page will help you make three weather observations on three different days this month. Afterwards, your child can make a comparison of the winter weather to their memories of summer weather in your backyard.

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter January 2015 Book Basket cover button

You can also download and read the December 2015 newsletter from the archives that features dozens of ideas for weather related nature study.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

To purchase an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, click on over to the Join Us page at any time.

Please use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 of an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.


January Nature Study – New Printables, Plan, and Planner Page

I don’t know about you but I’m so ready for a fresh start this month. December has been a busy month and the only formal nature study lesson I completed was the first day of winter activity. We took a very long walk in the woods even with snowy trails and it reminded me that I need to be more intentional about getting outside every week with a focus. (You can read my entry on Focus and Consistency from the archives for a little inspiration if you need it.)

So, making a fresh start in January will be easier with a little pre-planning. If you’re a member, you have a schedule and a planning page in your printables library. For everyone else, the January plan is printed below. We’ll mostly be working in the Winter Nature Study Continues ebook over the next couple of months.

My Winter Weather Notebook Page

01/01/21 Winter Fun – Weather Study – 2 printables from the Member’s Library

01/08/21 Cattle and Deer Nature Study – Winter Nature Study Continues ebook

01/15/21 Feldspar Rock Nature Study – Winter Nature Study Continues ebook

01/22/21 Orion Constellation Study – Winter Nature Study Continues ebook

01/29/21 Crystals Nature Study – Winter Nature Study Continues ebook

Animal Tracks Notebook Page

Running LIst notebook pageNew Printables for Members

  1. Animal Tracks Notebook Page: This time of the year is a fantastic time to get outdoors to look for animal tracks. On a recent hike we spotted some large elk tracks in the snow and mud. We frequently have squirrel tracks, goose tracks, raccoon tracks, and dog tracks around our yard. Have you spotted some signs of animals in your neighborhood? Use this notebook page to make a sketch of the track. Older students may wish to try to make them actual size and then use a field guide to identify which animal made the tracks.


  1. Running List Notebook Page: We’ve often used the simple practice of list making to keep a record of our nature observations. This set of pages gives you a variety of styles to choose from to make lists of a particular subject like birds, trees, butterflies, etc. Or you can use a running list notebook page to record things you observe in a particular place. We often would make lists while on vacation. See the samples below.

Tracks Scats and Signs Nature Book ClubYou may be interested in viewing this post from my archives: Winter Mammal Study- Tracks, Scat, and Signs. This thorough post will give you plenty of ideas for using the Animal Tracks notebook page with your family.

Printables for Members Button

Click the graphic above to view the complete list of printables available as part of an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.


January 2021 nature planner page

Members also have access to the Nature Planner pages in their library. Print out this month’s page and use it to stimulate your weekly nature study time.


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

If you’d like to have access to the member’s printables and the newsletter archive, I invite you to join with an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. Your membership will be valid for one year.

You can use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off your Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.