Basic Information for your Nature Journey
- Date – This establishes the season and month in relation to the year.
- Place – Compare habitats to get a sense of place or home. How is this place like someplace else where a relative or friend lives: How does this place differ from other places you have traveled or seen pictures of?
- Time – This does not have to be an accurate clock time; it can be simply say “early afternoon”, “late morning,” Animals and plants respond to light conditions.
- Weather – weather conditions affect the activity of most living things. Record such things as temperature, which affects animal activity and plant growth. Recording this information helps keep you aware of monthly and annual cycles. Some plants bloom only with long daylight periods and others with short daylight periods. Goldenrod blooms only in the late summer, and daffodils only bloom in early spring. The certain time of year when birds and animals have their young. Record cloud covers and patterns if you like. Add the names of the cloud type if you know them.
When you are outdoors and beginning your walk, take a minute of silence and listen… write what you hear. This helps you to acclimate yourself to what you maybe observing and drawing. Listen to insects or birds.
- Get close to individual objects, where you can readily examine a leaf, flower, insect, rock or earthworm. Draw two or three objects and move on. Label each item if you know what it is. Take no more than five minutes per drawing. For further learning try writing down one question about each object: How did it get there? Where does it go in winter? Can it also be found in other habitats” Research your subjects at a later time and add the information.
- Draw particular leaves, tall plants, shrubs, low nests, and insects on surfaces, birds. Don’t worry about your ability to make the objects realistic at this point. Label the object and describe what it is doing or is part of.
- Choose a tree to draw – deciduous or evergreen. The sky is an ever-changing show. Record the colors you see. Illustrate any objects in the sky, bird’s insects, and snow. Draw the clouds and how their shapes are changing. Indicate the moon. Write some words about how viewing the sky makes you feel.
Think of your Nature Journal as a treasure hunt
- Ask yourself, “What’s out there beyond the doorstep?”
- What treasures will I find?” You will be amazed when you actually get outside at all the things there are to drew or write about.
- Remember that keeping a Nature Journal is to learn to observe, record and fully appreciate the creation God has given you for your enjoyment. This is not an art exercise or any kind of test.
Look for signs of nature such as:
- Molted feathers of a bird
- Patches of fur from a mammal
- Seedlings of trees or other plants
- Holes chewed in leaves by some insect
- The tracks of animals in dust mud or snow
- What kind of bird did the feather come from?
- What kind of mammal did the fur come from?
- What kind of tree or plant will that seedling become?
- What kind of insect ate the holes in that plant?
- What animal tracks are they?
Complete your page with few lines of poetry or Scripture that would go along with your subject.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures, great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God makes them all.
(By Cecil France Alexander)
Be sure to record!