This week we began our Outdoor Hour Nature Study challenge with the Handbook of Nature Study. If you’ve never read this book by Anna Comstock, I highly suggest you get your hands on it! In only the first few pages my entire outlook on teaching, and especially the approach of nature study, has completely changed! You can purchase it from Amazon or download a free PDF copy for your kindle or computer. Just head to the Outdoor Hour blog for the details!

We decided to take advantage of the fantastic weather and go for a nice, long, HOT walk. There are tons of trees in our neighborhood, not to mention insects – as well as a pond with loads of wildlife! For living in the “city” we are pretty blessed!

Here are a few of the trees we will be observing changes in over the months. This one we’re trying to determine if it is sick or just turning leaves early.

 A maple tree.

 Red maple with keys. We’re working on being diligent at NOT pulling things off trees but looking on the ground underneath instead :0)

The next pics a few of the insects we saw on our walk – so if you don’t like bugs, skip over this part!

 Ant carrying a dead crane fly.

Honey bee gathering pollen.

 Stopping to smell the flowers.

 Our nearby pond teeming with geese before they fly south – and a semi-rare sighting of a blue heron!

Our favourite plant ever – milk weed! This plant changes so much over the spring and summer season. The only downside is that it is surrounded by….ACHOO!!! Goldenrod.

Keekers had a fantastic eye to spot this teeny little insect amongst the gravel and grass on the side of the path .She said “Look! A baby ladybug!” So we snapped a pic and determined when we got home to investigate further.

We discovered there are no such things as “baby” ladybugs, since they go from egg to larva to pupa to adult. So that quickly ruled out the ladybug theory (and upon zooming in on the photo we saw it actually looked NOTHING like a ladybug).

Next step was to google “orange bug that looks like a ladybug”. That brought up nothing. Finally, “orange insect” brought our answer.

Meet the Large Milkweed bug nymph!

I have never seen these before, but apparently when we told daddy about it, he knew they’d been coming up from the states lately. And when we saw more of these on our field trip with our homeschool group the next day, we knew EXACTLY what they were and were so excited to see them in 3 different development stages!

 We had one other mystery to solve on our walk – these trees bearing “fruit” for which I had no clue – but the kids instantly said “They’re walnuts!”. We think they might actually be horse chestnuts – any experts out there to confirm that?

We thoroughly enjoyed our first nature walk, doing specific research, and just enjoying God’s creation. Join us each week as we discover more!


Homegrown Learners