Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge-Mountain Lion Nature Study

Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge

Mountain Lion Nature Study

Are you joining us for the new series of Outdoor Hour Challenges from the brand new ebook, High Desert Nature Study? I highly recommend this ebook for everyone, even if you don’t live in or near this fascinating habitat. The topics we’re going to work through are ones that your children will find interesting and be excited to complete in anticipation of observing these subjects in the future.

As always, where possible, I suggest an alternative or supplementary nature study topic for you to choose from for each Outdoor Hour Challenge. This week the alternative suggested nature study topic is: Outdoor Hour Challenge: Cats

Outdoor Hour Challenge Mountain LIon nature study

Here are a few ideas to get you started with a mountain lion nature study:

  • Choose your resource for learning about the mountain lion (Puma concolor).  Don’t forget to look at your public library for books on mountain lions.
  • For younger children, listen to chapter 30 in the Burgess Animal Book for Children, featuring the cougar (mountain lion).
  • Advanced study:  Research what you should do if you encounter a mountain lion. Here is a link: Mountain Lion Foundation.

Please note that I won’t be posting the complete challenge here on the blog, but you will find the detailed challenge in the High Desert ebook that’s available both in the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level memberships. Sign into your account and download the ebook for the details, more links, and notebook pages.

High Desert Ebook cover graphic

If you don’t have a membership yet, you can click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 25 ebooks and so much more! Remember that all levels, even the Discovery level membership, include access to all of the archived newsletters!

Topics in this ebook include:

  • Bitterbrush
  • Sagebrush
  • Greater sage-grouse
  • Succulents
  • Mountain Lion
  • Coyote
  • Pocket Gopher
  • Bristlecone Pine
  • Elk
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Juniper
  • Snowberry
  • Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
  • River Otter


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020

Please use the discount code SPRINGBREAK to receive $10 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership





Spring Break Discount Code! Join Now!

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020

Are you facing Spring Break with the kids and are wondering what you can do to have some fun and learn something at the same time? It may be time to give the Outdoor Hour Challenge a try!

Benefits by Level graphic 2019 to 2020 updated January 2020

Just look at all those benefits of an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership!

The current library contains 25 ebooks covering hundreds of topics. There are 76 newsletters in the library and dozens of printables in addition to the ebooks!

Right now, use the discount code SPRINGBREAK  for $10 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. This offer will be valid until 3/31/2020. 

What a fantastic deal! For $35 dollars you will have this amazing resource for a complete year from your purchase. Take a look at some samples and download a newsletter to take a peek at what you will get with your membership.

Click over to the Join Us page and scroll down to find a sample that interests you: Join Us.

Newsletter Index downloadSample Newsletter: January 2014.

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Click the graphic to see the current list of printables available with a membership.

Wildflower Succession and Ephemerals

Wildflower Succession and Ephemerals

Wildflowers take their “turns” as they bloom through each season. This idea came to me years ago as I hiked the same trail many times a month and I noted that a certain meadow always had a flower blooming. The wildflowers don’t all bloom at the same time but they do bloom in the same order each year. This “cycle” or succession of flowers gives us a way to mark time.

spring wildflowersIn the early spring, the meadow comes alive with popcorn flower. Next to bloom are the shooting stars, the California poppies, and the purple Chinese houses. Making observations of the meadow has become an annual activity for me and it is enjoyable to know which flowers to anticipate as the season goes on.  The early spring wildflowers make their appearance before the surrounding trees leaf out and make shade. These plants quickly flower and go to seed, waiting for the next year to bloom again.

This cycle of flowering and then seed dropping fascinates me. I imagine all those seeds layered there in the soil just waiting for the conditions to be right in order for them to start their blooming cycle again the next year.

Wildflower spring ephemerals lupine

Spring ephemerals: Ephemeral means short lived or lasting for a brief time. In the case of wildflowers, these are usually the first flowers to develop stems, leaves, and flowers. They spring up quickly, bloom, seed, and then disappear once the temperatures heat up and the trees grow overhead.  They don’t really die but go dormant.

Here are some from my Sierra Foothill habitat in California:

¨ Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum

¨ California Golden Violet, Viola pedunculata

¨ Elegant Brodiaea, Brodiaea elegans

¨ Hooker’s Evening Primrose, Oenothera elata hookeri

¨ Mariposa or Butterfly Lily, Calochortus venustus

¨ Miner’s lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata

¨ Miniature lupine, Lupinus bicolor

¨ Owl’s Clover or Valley Tassels, Castilleja lineariloba

¨ Pretty Face, Triteleia ixioides

¨ Rose Globe or Fairy Lily, Calochortus amoenus

¨ Shooting Star, Dodecatheon jeffreyi

What are the spring ephemeral wildflowers in your area?

 Wildflower Succession and Spring Ephemerals


Wildflower Succession in Your Neighborhood

Choose a wildflower that grows in your neighborhood to watch each spring. Create a long term record of its initial bloom time each year. Use the data and compare the dates from year to year. Did weather– rainfall, snowfall, temperature– affect its blooming?

Wildflower Related Citizen Science Project Opportunity

Join Nature’s Notebook and make observations of a specific plant (or animal) in your area. By submitting data to this program, you will be helping scientists in their research. See the website for details and instructions. Click here for more information: Nature’s Notebook.


Newsletter Index download

This article first appeared in the April 2016 Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter.

 Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Ebook 1 promo button

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Ebook two promo button

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Ebook 3 promo button

You may wish to download one of the wildflower ebooks from your Ultimate Naturalist Library and use it this spring and summer for your nature study time.


Here is a list of the wildflowers included in those ebooks:

Ebook #1: Field mustard, Wild radish, Shooting star, Lupine, Purple Chinese houses, Yarrow.

Eboook #2: Henbit, Cow parsnip, Columbine, Chicory, Cocklebur.

Ebook #3: Fireweed, Salsify, Forget-Me-Not, Paintbrush, Common silverweed.


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020If you still need a membership, click the graphic above to find out more about joining now.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Garden Wildflower and Weeds Index @handbookofnaturestudy

You can also find many more wildflower nature study challenges on the Wildflower tab on the website.