Friday, September 6, 2013

Nature Study for Real People

I considered titling this "Nature Study for Dummies." Because that is often how I feel when I'm doing Nature Study. Right now, I do Nature Study for myself more than the kids. I feel like I need to learn all these wonderful things about God's creation that I missed growing up.

So many people, including myself, are at a loss when it comes to Nature Study and how to do it. I pretty much wing it. I figure that is better than not doing it at all. Let me show you how maddening, (or amusing), nature study can be at our house. This is what it looks like...

I think there may be some goldenrod growing on the other side of our fence out back so I decide during naptime Lily and I will head out to draw it and get in our nature study. I remind Lily to only draw what you see and take your time to look before drawing. We commence to drawing with several interruptions about what are lie bumps and why do we get lie bumps. And are lie bumps contagious? After several prompts to focus on what we're drawing, we finally get results.


We go inside and take a peak a the Handbook of Nature Study. Only to realize this is probably not goldenrod like I thought. Oh dear then! What is it? So begins my search to find out just what this sweet, yellow flower is that is growing in our field. After a few Google attempts and visits to wildflower identification websites, I think I figure out it is actually a species of goldenrod called skunk goldenrod. I'm still not sure about this and after wasting away half of an afternoon trying to figure it out...I decided to say it is goldenrod, just some unknown species, possibly skunk goldenrod. Skunk goldenrod is only found in East Tennessee and North Carolina so the chances are high that this is what we have found, or at least a hybrid of some sort.
This is goldenrod. The real deal. I found it on the side of the road and stopped and picked some for us to see.
I also found these Asters on my road trip. At least that's what I think they are. There are over THIRTY species of Aster in Tennessee. Along with these I found another type of asters right beside them. They were a paler purple and all the flowers grew from one stem, on the stem. Sorry no picture, they withered away before I got home.
I hope to invest in some good field guides soon so I don't have to Google everything. The amount of species of every bug, tree, weed, and flower sometimes seems exhaustive. There are some really nice, free sites to help you identify your subjects. I hope to get better at this through the years! Hey, maybe one day I be like the Edwardian Lady. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! Glad to see that you are giving it a go despite being unsure of things. Everyone must begin somewhere, right?

    Have you checked out Barb's blog at Handbook of Nature Study (

    Also, check out NaturExplorers. There you'll find some very CM-style nature study unit studies that blend other subjects into your nature studies. Her site is located at .

    Hope this helps!