Wow, hard to believe it is May already. It seems like I was just writing about my Nature Study goals for 2019. Well, I have completed a number of written entries in a number of locations (including my notebook on the kitchen counter, my actual nature journal, and even in my sketchbook), what looks like 17 or 18 sketches/drawings and taken a large number of photos, some with film and some with digital. (More images coming in a future post)…
I have only finished the one book, see post Keeping a Nature Journal. However, I am reading 3 different books at once and I have changed 2 of my books for the year. I am removing Richard Louv — The Nature Principle and Botany in a Day. Instead I am adding
A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold
John Muir : Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth; My First Summer in the Sierra; The Mountains of California; Stickeen; Essays
I have not had a chance to get out and go on any hikes yet. But alas, the weather has just now finally broke enough that we can go outside and not be cold. In fact it has been in the upper 60’s and 70’s around here the last few days. If only it would dry up enough to get into the garden.
Leave me a comment and let me know how you are coming along with your Nature Goals for the Year so far.
Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie and Charles E Roth is both inspiring and invigorating. As an artist of many years, this book gives me the courage to go out and keep doing what I do, only now with a better feel for Keeping a Nature Journal.
There are 4 Parts and 11 Chapters.
Part 1: Getting Started
Discovering Nature Journaling
Beginning Your Journal
A Sampling of Journaling Styles
Part 2: Journaling Through the Seasons
The Ongoing Journal
The Autumn Journal
The Winter Journal
The Spring Journal
The Summer Journal
Part 3: A Seasonal Celebration – A New Selection of Pages from Clare’s Journals
Part 4: Learning and Teaching Nature Journaling
Getting Started with Drawing
Teaching Journaling to Groups of All Ages
Journaling with School Groups
I will be completely honest, I had begun to read this book many a year ago and even flipped through the pages and used some of the pages when I would teach Nature Journaling. That being said, to read it from front cover to back cover, opened my eyes to a myriad of thoughts and ideas I had never thought before. Their idea of Nature Journaling is not simply confined to “Nature” in the most common sense, but nature is tied to each of us, and each of us is tied to nature. Everything is part of nature.
On page 7, they distinguish a diary from a journal; “It is important to note here that whereas a diary or personal journal records your feelings toward yourself or others, a nature journal primarily records your responses to and reflections about the world of nature around you.”
Charles E. Roth states in the Preface, “I wish I had kept a journal that recorded my childhood discoveries of nature, and people’s reactions to them.” It was not until college that he began to take detailed field notes of his natural history observation. I, too, often recall my many discoveries growing up, not just nature, but in life in general. I have often sketched something here or there along the way, but if they are not in a “book” they have been lost among the many moves I have made over the years.
Last year, I began to sketch a few more things here and a few more things there. I take my sketchbook, aka, Nature Journal, with me, everywhere I go. There are many times, like at the airport or in the hotel, I wish now I had sketched or painted instead of using the camera. The camera just doesn’t really begin to capture what my eyes truly see.
This book does not start off with a lot of you should do this and you should do that, or you need this item and you need that item, it begins with an introduction to recording nature. “Nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you. The recording can be done in a wide variety of ways, depending on the individual journalist’s interest, background, and training.” (p. 5). It goes on to talk about the medium and the format and their point is, you can record anything and everything in any form using any medium, drawing, writing lists of what you see, the weather, a poem, notes to look something up later. YOUR nature journal is ALL yours. There is no right and there is no wrong way to use it. The key is TO USE IT!
The benefits of nature journaling are far and wide and to list them all, would be tedious and cumbersome. The two most important benefits I take from nature journaling are the time to slow down and really see what I am seeing – is that a Northern Cardinal or is that a Tangier? Is that a Grackle or is that another type of black bird? Are those barn swallows or house swallows? Are my cherry trees really beginning to bloom already? By recording these observations in written and in sketch form, I now have a recording of who is visiting my property and when. I can then look back year after year to see if the populations are increasing or have I lost some of my bird friends? I can tell you after a few years if the cherry trees beginning to bud in February was a fluke or if it is a regular occurrence.
The key information to record in your nature journal when observing: (written or drawn)
Your name àunless it is written inside the cover of your journal
The time (does not have to be the exact time)
Cloud patters and cloud cover
The wealth of information covered in this book is too much to include in this one blog. I may come back at a later time and cover some of the other parts of the book that I found very useful and helped me find my way. But at this time, I would recommend this book to ANY beginner or novice nature journaler. It will give you the confidence you need to go out there and put the pencil to paper, so to speak.
If you have read this far. Thank you. I do not receive any financial income from any person for discussing their work. I do not have any affiliations with any book store or any company. In all honesty, if you can go out and buy the book used or have your local Independent Book Seller bring it in for you, that is a much more feasible way to purchase the book.
So, for now, have a great day and I look forward to seeing ya’ll real soon. Feel free to leave a comment or a link to your posts.
As promised in the Post Nature Study Goals 2019, here is my list of books for 2019. In trying to keep my, sometimes lofty, goals more manageable, I have only chosen 5 for this year. Each title will take you to a link where you can purchase the book or find more information. I do not receive any compensation if you choose to follow the link.
“For many of us, thinking about the future conjures up images of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: a post-apocalyptic dystopia stripped of nature. Richard Louv, author of the landmark bestseller Last Child in the Woods, urges us to change our vision of the future, suggesting that if we reconceive environmentalism and sustainability, they will evolve into a larger movement that will touch every part of society. This New Nature Movement taps into the restorative powers of the natural world to boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthen human bonds. Supported by groundbreaking research, anecdotal evidence, and compelling personal stories, Louv offers renewed optimism while challenging us to rethink the way we live.”
“The ultimate guide to nature drawing and journaling! A potent combination of art, science, and boundless enthusiasm, the latest art instruction book from John Muir Laws (The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds) is a how-to guide for becoming a better artist and a more attentive naturalist. In straightforward text complemented by step-by-step illustrations, dozens of exercises lead the hand and mind through creating accurate reproductions of plants and animals as well as landscapes, skies, and more. Laws provides clear, practical advice for every step of the process for artists at every level, from the basics of choosing supplies to advanced techniques. While the book’s advice will improve the skills of already accomplished artists, the emphasis on seeing, learning, and feeling will make this book valuable—even revelatory—to anyone interested in the natural world, no matter how rudimentary their artistic abilities.”
“Experience the splendor of nature with fresh eyes! Featuring an inspiring portfolio from Clare Walker Leslie’s nature journals, this guide offers easy-to-learn techniques for capturing the world around you in pictures and words. Encouraging you to make journaling a part of your daily routine, Keeping a Nature Journal is full of engaging exercises and stimulating prompts that will help you hone your powers of observation and appreciate new aspects of nature’s endlessly varied beauty.”
“Looking for a faster, easier, and engaging way to identify plants? Related plants have similar characteristics, and they often have similar uses. Rather than learning new plants one-at-a-time, it is possible to learn them by the hundreds, based on plant family patterns.
Each family of related plants has unique patterns for identification. Learn to recognize these patterns, and discover them again and again in the plants you encounter. It is possible to instantly recognize a plant never before seen, and in many cases, to know its edible or medicinal properties on the spot-even before you have identified it down to the species!
Botany in a Day is changing the way people learn about plants. A one-day tutorial introduces eight of the world’s most common plant families, applicable to more than 45,000 species of plants. Master these eight patterns and have the skills to recognize an astonishing number of plants on any continent. Add to your repertoire by keying out entirely unknown plants and learning additional family patterns. Botany in a Day is principally written for North America, but used and adored by readers all over the world. It is used as a textbook in numerous universities, high schools, and herbal schools. This book is widely used in nature programs and promoted in national parks. Botany in a Day is your passport connection to nature and discovering the amazing world of plants!”
Walden– Henry David Thoreau. This is a book I had been reading and set aside. There is so much to learn about so many topics, not just nature, but also minimalism and the cost of living. The link is to the book I own and where I purchased.
Henry David Thoreau was a sturdy individualist and a lover of nature. In March, 1845, he built himself a wooden hut on the edge of Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts, where he lived until September 1847. Walden is Thoreau’s autobiographical account of his Robinson Crusoe existence, bare of creature comforts but rich in contemplation of the wonders of nature and the ways of man.
You do not want to miss the book reviews as I read through these in 2019, so be sure to follow along by subscribing to the blog. I promise I will NEVER rent, sell, lease, or give your contact information away.
What books are in Your Nature Book Project for 2019? Leave me a comment and a link.
I received an email from Barbara McCoy of the Outdoor Hour Challenge titled Nature Book Project 2019. This sent me down an Internet Rabbit Hole, not only on her website, but into many a place.
It appears as if the end of 2018 is around the corner and it is time to begin thinking of goals for 2019. I usually set a list of goals that covers front and back of a page (I still need to see what goals I may not have completed from this year). This year I feel I need to break it down into more manageable pieces. Nature Study is something I have enjoyed most of my life even though most of the “study” part has been hit or miss. During a rough patch last year, my mother suggested instead of just photographing nature, I ought to draw it. It needn’t to be perfect, you never have to show anyone. So, below I am listing my Nature Study Goals for 2019. Make sure to subscribe so you do not miss an update. You never know what will happen.
Choose 5 – 10 Nature Study books: I have only chosen 5, so as not to become overly ambitious. I will post these in a separate post with a little more detail.
Begin work on a long-term photo project –> I am choosing Farming through the Seasons in NE and East Central Ohio. This will be a multi-year project.
Begin work on a long-term sketch project –> My goal is to sketch my property corner to corner (3 acres). This is a multi-year project also. I think for 2019 I will work on the overall layout of the property. The final goal is to write a field guide to my property.
Leave me a comment with your 2019 Nature Study Goals for 2019. I am looking forward to reaching our goals together.
Be sure to subscribe to my blog to keep up on all the great happenings and to follow along with my Nature Journal Goals for 2019. I promise your email address will be safe with me. I will not rent, sell, lease, or give it away.
I am not compensated for any link you may click from this article. Every one has been checked as the date of publishing this entry. 28Dec2018_JAA.