Nature journaling 101

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We have recently discovered the joys of nature journaling in our home education journey. Nature journaling is all about observation, documenting what you see around you (vegetation, trees, animals etc) and your feelings, to put it quite simply. There are many forms that a nature journal can take, and many resources available online, that I will link below, to help you discover what exactly you would like to explore in your nature journal.

 

 

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We currently have the blessing of living in a very green environment, near a nature reserve in Turkey. There are pine trees adorning the pathways, juniper berries glistening in the sunshine, conkers and pinecones carpeting the ground at our doorstep. It truly is a beautiful place. It only seemed natural to document the beauty we see around us, and also to explore the emotions it stirred up within our souls.

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I find myself unable to name common trees or mini beasts that we find along the way, and so this is just as much a learning tool for me, as it is for my daughter.

John Muir is quoted to have said ‘In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ‘To be outdoors, to observe what is around you, to then translate it in to a picture, drawing, sketch or painting is quite fulfilling, and a reminder of the vast and beautiful grandeur of God’s creation.

 

Here is some guidance on starting a basic nature journal with kids:

  1. Decide where you want to go (a local park, woodland, beach, your own garden etc). Take a  good quality note-book and some pencils or sketching pens, and any other supplies you may need.
  2. Find some animals or trees and plants you would like to focus on.
  3. Think about the details of your focus – the colour, the size, the surrounding environments. Nature journaling means that you will observe closely, really see something, and not just look at it.
  4. How does what you see make you feel? 
  5. Make a note of your observations, reflections. Take photos, for reference, if needed. Collect something to take back home with you, if possible – try not to take something from a tree or plant that isn’t already on the ground.
  6. Get drawing (if you are fortunate to be able to do so in the moment, go for it!) If not, get home and draw.
  7. Search for further information at the library, or the reference to learn about your plant/tree/animal.

Recommended links where you can learn more:

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Our works in progress

 

Handbook of Nature Study

The Nature Journal as a tool for learning

An Autumn point of discussion: why do leaves change colour? (England)

Autumn activities

 

 

We were also lucky enough to discover a nature walk in our locality for children by an organisation called Usturlab (Astrolabe). They conducted a ‘Forest Explorers’ walk where they looked at different trees and plants at Ankara Botanical Park. The children were given a tour and information about the local vegetation and then created a collage of the different bits they found. Totally recommend this walking tour, if you find yourself in Turkey! Here are some photos from the day:

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How do you connect with nature? 

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21 thoughts on “Nature journaling 101

  1. You write beautifully, detailing yet withholding to allow us to explore nature to make our own minds up.
    I love nature, it always manages to stir up varied emotions on my part, a blessing indeed.
    I love what you have managed to display, beautiful artwork indeed and I would love to see the finished drawings too.
    جزاك الله خيراً

  2. This is such a grounding journal idea. It’s bring me back to memories in the woods, forests… just soo relaxing 🙂 I love the idea of collecting things – makes me feel like a child again x

  3. I absolutely love this idea! My husband and I already take our 15 month old out on nature walks. Looking forward to when she is older so I can start nature Journaling! Fantastic!

  4. This is very good idea to take the children out and get them grasp and learn things by seeing and feeling them….thank you for sharing…

  5. Oh this used to be one of my favourite things to do growing up. I love drawing and going to parks and drawing was kind of a hobby. You’re making me think of going back to doing it!

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