An Introduction To Nature Journaling

A nature journal is a fun and rewarding way to record the observations, reflections and experiences you have when you spend time in the natural world.

A nature journal can take many forms – from a simple notebook or sketchbook, to an elaborate, multi-media journal packed with photographs, drawings, paintings, poetry and written descriptions.

Its purpose is to record and document anything related to the natural world, such as the weather, animal behaviour, plant growth, or changes in the landscape, helping you and your child develop a deeper connection to and understanding of nature. 

Materials needed

To start nature journaling, you will need:

  • Journal or notebook
  • Pens or pencils
  • Colouring pencils
  • Field guides
  • Camera (optional)

Starting your nature journal

The first step in starting a nature journal, is to observe the natural world.

Take time to use all of your senses, including sight, sound, touch and smell, to notice the details of the plants, animals, landscape and weather.

Then, record your observations in your nature journal. Write about, sketch, or photograph what you notice, making sure to record the date, location, time of day and as many other details as possible.

When writing, use descrptive language to capture the details of what you have noticed. Use adjectives to describe the colours, textures, smells and shapes and use verbs to describe any movement  or behaviour.

Try drawing the things you see. You do not need to be an expert to begin drawing. Just use simple sketches to record what you see. Then use notes or labels to help you enrich the sketch and describe further details.

Reflect on your observations, thoughts and feelings. What did you learn? What suprised you? What questions did you have? Write them all down.

Use your nature journal as a tool to help you explore and learn about the natural world. Take it with you whenever you leave home, or even while sitting at the window! Over time, it can help you form a deeper connection to and appreciation of the wonderful world around you.

Tips for journaling

When you first start journaling, remember, it is okay to start off simple and small. make little sketches and observations at first, then become more detailed as you grow.

  • Try and set aside time each week to work on your nature journal and make it a part of your regular routine.
  • Take your journal with you whenever you go out on walks, hikes or other outdoor activities (even standing at the bus stop) to record what you see and learn.
  • Be open to learning and observing new things and seeing the world in a different way. Let your curiosity guide you.
  • Use all of your senses to observe the natural world. Notice the colours, shapes, textures, sounds and smells of what you observe.
  • Experiment with different styles. Use paints, crayons, pencils, pens or any other tools that capture your imagination.
  • Don’t forget to have fun.  Nature journaling is a tool to help you connect more deeply with the natural world. So, do not take it too seriously. Just relax and enjoy the experience.

Remember, nature journaling is a personal journey, There is no right or wrong way to do it. The important thing is to enjoy the process and learn from what you observe.

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