Focused nature study was something brand new (among many other things) to me this year--but can I just admit I'm a fan? I think it's a wonderful practice in training children to develop careful, detailed observation skills through an art medium using specimens that are often in their ordinary environment to easily make a personal interest and connection to learning more about.
Students are given a specimen which they carefully observe and try to recreate exactly what they see through watercolor paintings. We write the name of our specimen in English and Latin on the page along with the date. I think it's even more meaningful when student can write about their specimen on the back of the page as well.
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. ~Frank Lloyd Wright