I cant say that I ever thought a homeschool nature study on lichens would prove to be very interesting but I was very wrong in my assumptions.
This is what I love about nature study and following the Handbook of Nature Study: Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum along side our treasured Handbook of Nature Study. It takes on on adventures and highlights topics that usually don’t enter your mind.
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A Nature Study on Lichens – More Interesting that First Expected!
I have to say that while we lived up north I can’t recall seeing much lichen about. This could be because I didn’t think about them at all but when we lived in Devon for a few ears the trees and shrubs in our garden were simply covered in lichens.
Initially, I thought that it was harmful to the host plants but once I delved into lichens and learned a bit more about them instead of looking at them in dread I am very pleased indeed that we have them coating just about every tree and shrub.
The Benefits of Lichen
Did you know that Lichens are an indicator of clean air?
I had no idea! Living on the coast it makes perfect sense as to why our garden is lichen heaven.
The strong winds that blow off the ocean blow away any pollution and germs. Lichens generally thrive where the air is clean although there are a rare few that will grow just about anywhere regardless of the air quality. I think I may have to keep a look out for these now that we are living back in Northern England.
Lichens are not a singular plant they are actually two species, algae and a fungus living in a symbiotic relationship. The fungus forms the outer layer/body (thallus) in which the algae partner can live, protected from damaging conditions such as high levels of light and lack of water. The algae partner provides the essential carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water with the aid of sunlight.
Now, tell me, do you keep a nature journal yourself?
I have kept one alongside my children for the past 9 years or so. I love it! It has moved from being something I did to encourage my little ones to journal, to becoming a favourite personal pass time, one that I will certainly continue for the joy of it even after my youngest has graduated from our homeschool.
I might even try turning my hand to some Urban Sketching as I love the idea of capturing a moment and preserving it forever. It’s a great way to record your travels too, which I plan on doing much more of now that we are British citizens and have lovely British passports!
The Winter Nature Table
This week I started building our winter nature table. Our nature year poster is up on the wall and of course, our lichens and winter twigs have their place.
As always, our copy of Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady is on display on our nature table. I don’t think I will ever get tired of reading her diary. It’s such an inspiration!
Its all still quite bare I’ll be sure to post a picture of our nature table as it starts to fill up. Winter treasures will be gathered on nature walks and January will bring the Big Garden Birdwatch. This means our field guides will be here as well as binoculers and the Big Garden Birdwatch free printable counting lists.
Nature Books We Are Enjoying This Week:
This week we will be reading from ‘The Book of the Country Side‘ which is a lovely book that looks at the plants, animals and birds of the British countryside through the four seasons. I love this book!
For younger readers (although we are quite charmed with this book too) reading from Enid Blyton’s Nature Lovers Book – this is such a lovely book to read to your young children. I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy if you can.
Finally, if you are looking for a great book filled with nature craft ideas through the seasons then grab your copy of Nature Smart. This was one of the first books I purchased in our first year of homeschooling and we have used it through the years. All three of these books will be kept in our library for our daughters to share with their own children one day – that’s how much I love them!
My Basic Nature Journaling Recommendations:
These three items are my nature study staples, I cannot be without them. The journal is small enough to take with you out into the field and the paper sturdy enough to take watercolour paint.
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