Whether you are an explorer, a scientist or a journalist covering nature, it’s a fact that you cannot walk without a notebook. Ideally, this is where you outline the maps, put down ideas and draw sketches. One way to connect all these emotions and thoughts is by keeping a nature journal. After all, studies have shown that there is a connection between nature and happiness.
But if you don’t know how to go about this, nature can be quite overwhelming. Thankfully, with the right guidance and a few tips, everything should fall in place without any issues. In fact, nature study is for each and every one of us that is somewhat interested in nature. From plant to animal species, nature encompasses virtually every living thing that we come into contact with every day.
If you are just starting out, here is a guide that will help you know how to keep a good nature journal.
Table of Contents
- What is Nature Journaling?
- Six Reasons Why You Should Practice Nature Journaling
- Eight Nature Journaling Ideas and Tips to Get You Started
- Best Nature Journals
- 1. Nature Walk Journal
- 2. Nature Journal: A Kid’s Nature Journal
- 3. Nature Journal: Blank and Lined Nature Notebook
- 4. Keeping a Nature Journal
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Nature Journaling?
Like a personal diary, nature journaling is the process of recording all your nature observations and deeply reflecting upon them. It generally combines the detailed observations of scientists and the deep thoughts of philosophers to come up with something worth reflecting on. It’s a good way to use your observation skills while giving you the chance to explore the curiosity, wonder, and excitement out there.
Since it involves recording your observations about trees, animals, birds and other living things on paper, it’s one of the best tools to use if you intend to improve your observation skills. By getting the observation out of your head and onto the paper you can keep track of everything that you love. Nature journals can also allow children who are still in kindergarten school to learn creativity.
Six Reasons Why You Should Practice Nature Journaling
1. Nature can impact you in a very unique way
Each time you venture outside you must be impacted. Whether you are just watching the birds or different kinds of animals, you’ll have to pose and appreciate the beauty of nature. When you assimilate those experiences through words and images you start to understand nature and the role that you need to play.
2. Build memories
When you explore and record nature you build a long-lasting memory about nature. By learning and memorizing nature you’ll know different ways to preserve nature. This will help both the future and the present generations.
3. Uncover better perspectives
By critically looking at nature and having deep thoughts along the way you’ll know how to ask better questions about the environments and some of the best ways to go about this. This will also put you in a position to be able to answer different questions that could have been bothering you.
4. Nature journal will boost your creativity
If you are just starting out you’ll find that nature has so many creative things. When you are allowed to practice nature journaling you’ll come up with very many creative perspectives that will help you improve your artistic creativity. This makes this type of journaling a breath of fresh air.
5. Nature journals can reinforce your scientific language
Although nature journals don’t have to be in the form of writings, it’s quite possible to write some descriptions and draw some sketches. This is why through nature you can easily reinforce your scientific language and know more about the animals and trees. If you encounter a unique animal or plant that you don’t know about you can always go back and learn about it.
6. Nature journaling allows you to learn
When you come across something that you don’t know it’s possible that you’ll pose so you can learn what it is and what it does. Since you are gathering information and noting the experiment it’s easy to go back to your journal and see the patterns.
Eight Nature Journaling Ideas and Tips to Get You Started
1. Know your goals
Before you start your nature journaling exercise, you need to take a few minutes and think about what you intend to achieve. Depending on what you intend to gain you can then approach this exercise differently. Remember, people always journal for different reasons. Know how this exercise excites so you can be motivated to do your best once you are out there.
2. Choose a specific nature journal
Although this might seem very simple, it’s a very important thing to do if you intend to succeed in this endeavor. Make sure you get a journal that’s entirely dedicated to nature. Mixing your nature journals with your other personal journals might make you lose track of your purpose and fail to achieve what you want.
3. Collect all the supplies that you need
Examples of the materials that you need to include a durable book, pencil for note-taking, watercolor set, drawing supplies, small camera, filed books. As you figure out what you want to achieve you can also know what you need to include in your nature journaling kit so you don’t miss anything that you know is important.
4. Concentrate on the process and not the product
Unlike other journaling strategies keeping a nature journal is quite different. It’s not just a matter of having a final product that you can refer to. While it’s important to record all your observations, the most exciting thing about nature journaling is the process. Once you know this you’ll explore nature in such a way that you’ll learn a lot in the process. This should also make it simple knowing that you don’t have to be perfect in your recording.
5. Have a list of questions that you need to ask
On the first page of your nature journal ensure that you have a list of questions. These questions should guide you into getting all the details that you need. Some of these questions include
- What are the most dominant insects/animals?
- What types of plants do I see?
- How might time be affecting the animals or plants?
- What kind of details in terms of size and color do I see in the animals?
- How do I feel after this?
6. Sketch as much as you can
Sketching is an important part of nature journaling. By drawing and coloring what you see you’ll not only ask more questions but also seek more details about what you are exploring. If you like you can even take photos. Even if you are not good at this ensure you make some sketches along the way.
7. Make it interesting and fun
If you want to enjoy this, ensure that what you do is fun and interesting. By doing this you’ll learn a lot and you’ll always be looking forward to this kind of exercise.
8. Refer back to the information when you get back
As much you can take all the notes and answer the questions you cannot do everything in the field. So, it’s important to look for additional details when you get back home.
5 Best-Selling Nature Journals
Best Nature Journals
- potter gift (author)
- english (publication language)
- 160 pages - 05/04/2010 (publication date) - potter style (publisher)
Although this is a small book you should not let the size deceive you. As compared to other field guides that you’ll find out there this is a nature journaling book that comes with more pages for journaling.
While it’s large enough to contain all the information that you need, it’s small enough to pack in your bag if you are moving out. This book also has wonderful sections that include leaf, animal tracks, and all the identifications that you need to know about. If you are looking for something attractive and useful then this is the deal.
- cantrell, alice m (author)
- english (publication language)
- 102 pages - 06/22/2018 (publication date) - createspace independent publishing platform (publisher)
Designed for children who are between the ages of 6 and 12, this book contains everything that a child may need for nature journaling.
As one of the most beautiful nature journals for kids, this is a well-made book that’s also aesthetically pleasing. Since it comes with several suggestions it’s also quite good for children who are not super creative. It’s a basic but very well thought book that your kid will love.
- river breeze press (author)
- english (publication language)
- 110 pages - 03/14/2018 (publication date) - createspace independent publishing platform (publisher)
Whether you want to write draw or doodle this nature journal will come very much in handy. In fact, one thing that you’ll love about this book is its size and idea.
Although it’s a very small journal book it has everything that you need for your outings. It will also help you with meditations and thoughtful observation.
- keeping a nature journal
- leslie, clare walker (author)
- english (publication language)
- 224 pages - 09/01/2003 (publication date) - storey publishing, llc (publisher)
Do you want to experience nature in a fresh, detailed way? If so then this journal is the answer. As a wonderful book for both the young and the old, it has inspired many people to explore nature like never before. Since it’s a step by step guide its even quite suitable for those who think that they cannot write as it will show them exactly how to go about it.
Apart from the quality of the paper the covers and pages are also printed nicely. In fact, if you need a how-to book then this is the most suitable book for you. It has information on how to keep a nature journal including a variety of examples, drawings and things that you need to include in your journal. Overall it can be described as beautiful and approachable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically there is nothing specific that you “need” to include in your nature journal. From drawing to labels, dates to weather conditions, locations to patterns you can write virtually anything that’s connected to nature.
Provided you love nature, you can just start the process. Just like other types of journaling, nature journaling does not have to be complicated. If you are looking for a creative outlet that can give you peace of mind then you need to try out nature journaling and see it change your life. In fact, if you are consistent you’ll definitely appreciate life and nature much more.
No. when it comes to nature journaling you can use virtually any type of paper. However, it’s advisable to choose a paper depending on what you intend to achieve. For instance, if you want to write a lot then a lined paper is the best. But if you intend to sketch then using a drawing book is the best.
Yes. Animals are part and parcel of nature. This is because nature created them and they do not belong to humans.
It is important to avoid picking up things from National Parks as this can bring you problems with the authorities. Also, if you are exploring nature in your friend’s place it’s important to seek their permission before collecting anything. However, if you can sketch it out without interfering with the living things, the better. Remember, you love nature hence the last thing you want is to destroy it.
As you start to explore and record nature your skills will improve and you’ll have an increased appetite to learn. In the process, you’ll learn how to sketch with more clarity, write well and learn more about the animals and plants that you are studying. This is a natural way and lifetime learning that will improve your life and make you a better person. The more you do it the more you’ll recognize where the inspiration comes from. So go out there and practice nature journaling!