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.