Outdoor School: Tree, Wildflower and Mushroom Spotting
Mary Kay Carson and John D. Dawson
Published February 28, 2023
About Outdoor School
With 448 full-color, highly-illustrated pages, Outdoor School is your indispensable tool for the outdoors.
This interactive field guide to plant and mushroom spotting includes:
– Immersive activities to get you exploring
– Write-in sections to journal about experiences
– Next-level adventures to challenge even seasoned nature lovers.
No experience is required—only curiosity and courage. Inside you’ll find easy-to-follow instructions on how to:
– Grow mushrooms with cardboard
– Compare bark types
– Count tree rings
– Survey leaf patterns
– Create fern spore prints
– Press and preserve wildflowers
And so much more!
We live in a fairly rural neighborhood in Florida, so I was really interested to see if there were trees, flowers, fungi, etc that I’d recognize from this area in the guide pages. I definitely saw some familiar things. The book does indicate that it’s a great beginner guide and more of an interactive experience. It says that a field guide for your local area will be more comprehensive.
The book is divided into sections, one for each different category of plant (plus fungi). Each section begins with some educational material, exploring each element of a particular plant or fungi used for identification. The tree section covers the different shapes of trees, the ways they grow, different types of leaves and fruit. I thought it struck a good balance between simplifying the processes but still introducing some scientific vocabulary (with definitions).
The informative part is followed by some interactive activities. Take the book into the woods or your yard and notice this or that about the trees or flowers around you. There are spaces to draw pictures or journal your answers. I liked that the book becomes sort of a guided nature journal with lots of helpful information in it as well.
All the teaching and guided journaling that makes this a valuable tool in a completely different way than a field guide. I read a digital ARC of this book, but I would like to get a copy for our family library. Books that help us engage outdoors have been a big hit in our house, so I’m excited to add this one to the list.
Readers who enjoy books like THE ENVIRONMENT: EXPLORE, CREATE AND INVESTIGATE by Jonathon Litton should check this one out.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
All plants, fungi and lichen.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Information about how plants reproduce.
Brief mention that some mushrooms can cause hallucinations. More focus on the fact that wild mushrooms can be deadly and not to eat them.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of OUTDOOR SCHOOL in exchange for my honest review.