If you have been hesitating to start, here are ten reasons why you should keep a nature journal.
1. It is an inexpensive hobby. All you need is a notebook, a pencil, and perhaps a few art supplies.
2. If you record the world around you, you will see how it changes over time. If you write the date and location on each entry, you will remember when the blackberries were ripe or when you saw the first violets the year before. You will begin to spot patterns.
3. Writing and drawing makes you observe more closely and notice details. It will help you remember what you saw, heard, felt, and even smelled.
4. A detailed nature journal allows you to share your experiences with others. Your journals may become a treasure passed down to another generation or a useful tool for scientific studies.
5. You will learn the names of natural features (mountains, rocks, lakes) and living things in your community, while building your vocabulary. You get to know your neighbors in nature.
Can you tell the great-tailed grackle from the curved-bill thrasher?
6. If you are worried about your ability to draw or write, remember that regular practice helps build confidence and skill. You will improve.
7. Nature journals are great places to keep track of your ideas and questions as you process.
For example, why is this plant called a touch-me-not? Where does it tend to grow? Is it the same as jewel weed?
8. Writing and drawing in a nature journal takes time. It is an opportunity to slow down, to focus, to relax.
9. A nature journal is personal. It reflects your interests, your creativity, your personality. It can be funny (cartoon animals with speech bubbles), mostly stories (writings), or almost entirely art. You can focus on the big picture (ecosystems, habitats) or the the close up, macro view (what insects live in an acorn?) Or a mix.
You can also focus on one group, such as only birds or only wildflowers. There isn’t one way to do it. See these examples of nature journal pages to see the range.
10. Start a nature journal and it might change your life.
Keeping a nature journal is an activity that combines science, art, writing, and an opportunity to get outdoors. What could be better?
Do you keep a nature journal? What advice do you have?
- See the International Nature Journaling Week website for tons of information and ideas.
- Try making comparisons between similar plants as a way to get started (video has details).
Free nature journal to print mentioned in the video
Their book is full of ideas:
How to Teach Nature Journaling: Curiosity, Wonder, Attention by John Muir Laws, Emilie Lygren and Amy Tan (Foreword)
Or look for books by Clare Walker Leslie:
The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You by Clare Walker Leslie
Disclosures: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles, covers, or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.