Why keep a nature Journal?
In a nutshell? It’s totally inspiring, you learn so much, increase your powers of observation, boost your well being; and it’s fun!
A nature journal is your personal response to nature, kept in whatever way you choose. In the traditional way, through observing, sketching, and writing about what you see, you become connected to the natural world in a unique way. You learn to stop - and pay attention to the detail. Your curiosity is stimulated, and your sense of wonder is boosted!
Keeping a nature journal helps to:
see the world with new eyes
understand how everything is connected
stimulate curiosity, and a sense of wonder
show us our unique place in the world
understand the importance of local nature
make us more aware and grateful
improve our well being!
I’d love to KEEP A JOURNAL - BUT
I can't travel to see nature....
Wonderful though it would be, there’s no need for a trip to the mountains, or a safari. Nature is everywhere - and it's always fascinating. Take time to get to know the local wildlife, in your garden, allotment or local park.
You’ll be amazed when you take time to stop and really look, especially at things you might consider ordinary; and see them with new eyes! Look at the sky and the changing clouds. Notice the elegant shape of the leaves on the cherry tree on your street. Marvel at the tiny, persistent weed, bursting into life through the crack in your paving......
Keeping a journal helps you to think differently about the world. You become more aware and and in tune with seasonal changes, and experience so much.
I don't have time...
Journal when you do. Just start! Even for ten minutes. The most important thing is to try!
Find a comfortable ‘sit spot’. This is just a location to return to again and again to observe and record nature. Maybe a favourite spot in your garden, or a park bench.*
Try journaling as an family activity. Watching nature outside and drawing it - equals fun! Children’s natural curiosity and wonder is infectious. Take your journals on trips to the local park, zoo, city farm….. anywhere.
If your time is really short, just make a grid on your page and draw something in each box - a leaf, twig, feather, pebble, a flower, fir cone. Follow the opening of a flower, or draw cloud studies. Creating just a page a week would give you over 50 pages a year!
I don’t know how to draw!
There’s no quick fix, but drawing is just a skill, not a gift. It can be learnt - just like driving a car or learning to swim. Practice, patience and perseverance are the keys. Don’t worry about making perfect pictures. Many sketches in your journal will be done roughly on the spot. The important thing is learning to draw what you see, not what you think you see.
There are many resources to help you learn to draw. The more you journal; the more your drawing will improve! It’s a win win situation. Over time you’ll find your own style.
What about the words?
It’s up to you. You may like facts and research, or prefer to write about how an experience made you feel. Maybe you create a poem or haiku, or just mix everything up. A few things you might want to note down are the date, time of day and the weather. It's fun to have these so you can look back on them and see how things change.
Remember, it’s your journal. There are no rules, except, there are no rules!
* A little note on Keeping Safe
I walk and journal on my own, but I know that's not okay for everyone. Always keep safe. Your garden or yard - is a wonderful resource for keeping a journal, or find somewhere like a local park where you feel comfortable and secure. Maybe you can find find a friend or family member who'll join you! If you do venture out alone make sure you have a fully charged phone and someone always knows where you are.