Originally we started keeping a nature journal the year that we followed a nature curriculum. However, we have kept it going, though not on a weekly basis, as we all really enjoyed doing it. We each keep an A5 sized notebook that is devoted to drawings, writing, or things we have stuck into it about nature. We follow the seasons with it, keeping in touch with nature’s time keeping and learning through our nature journal entries. It is not just something for children to do, it is an activity for all ages.
What Is A Nature Journal:
A nature journal is a place where you can document your experiences with nature. You can choose the format this should take to suit you and your ways of documenting your own experiences. The nature journal collects all these experiences and thoughts in one place and can be a mix of factual science or meandering thoughts. You need to use whatever method suits you as an individual. Our trio are mainly drawing at this point in time, so have blank pages they can draw and sketch on. My nature journal has lined pages so I can add a lot of text with my sketches, writing about what I have drawn. Our little people make some notes too, depending on their age! I have seen some watercolour nature journals that look stunning and beautiful.
Why Keep A Nature Journal:
Keeping a nature journal reconnects us to nature, something nature really needs us to do, in order to want to protect it. It helps us build a relationship with nature. For the children it is a good way to teach them to observe and document what they see. They get to know nature better and learn about the environment around them. It also ignites their natural curiosity further to want to learn more about nature. They connect to nature and appreciate nature more.
How To Keep A Nature Journal:
Decide what method you are going to use and invest in some supplies. So, for instance, we have got A5 notebooks, pencils, rubbers, and pencil crayons. You can have a list of questions to ask yourself about what you are observing, or you can be more like us doing it on an ad hoc basis and following wherever the learning path and questions lead. We tend to find something seasonal to draw, label it, and maybe write a little information about it. In fair weather we do it “on location” outdoors. It is lovely doing it like that. However, in our Swedish winters it is a little impractical trying to draw with gloves on, so we will investigate outdoors, take some photos, and also maybe bring a few samples home (for example fungi or moss), and then all sit round the table together. We also have a lovely place near us called Ronneby Naturum which is a haven for nature based learning. We love going in there with our journals and finding something to sketch. Above all you need to get out in nature, connect, and have fun doing it!
I find doing our nature journals very calming. We are immersed in nature, and doing a relaxing activity. As an adult I can not remember many times when I have stopped to draw. I am definitely not an artist, but I still enjoy doing it. Having nature journals allows me to dabble in this and remember to take the time to do so as well. We all love nature, and this is a fantastic and enjoyable way of connecting with nature and learning more about it.