Keeping a nature journal gives you a chance to record your observations, experiences, thoughts and the questions you have about things you encountered in nature. You can sketch, color or write haiku poetry about what you see, hear, feel and smell around you in the outdoors.
A nature journal can be a tool to help increase your awareness and appreciation of the natural world. As humans, we have been able to survive on this planet for thousands of years by using all of our senses to be aware of the important sights, sounds, smells, and textures all around. Being able to combine the information from our senses with our own intuition and inner awareness can lead to more emotional balance and control in our lives today.
As you become more aware, you may also begin to realize how many amazing things are surrounding you and how the earth provides for each of your needs everyday. You may start noticing things like local land formations, the wildlife nearby, the trees and plants around us and the changing weather patterns.
Nature journals can help us slow down, relaxing and calming busy minds and bodies. We may also be able to express ourselves creatively through writing and art. Spending time in nature and viewing nature also has many proven physical and mental health benefits.
Suggestion for beginning a Nature Journal:
Find a nice “sit spot” in nature. This can be in your yard, on the playground under a tree or at a park. Indoors with a view of nature through a window also works.
Always be aware of possible hazards and threats in your environment before you sit down and close your eyes.
Sit quietly and be aware of your surroundings with all your senses.
Close your eyes for a few minutes and breathe deeply through your nose.
Notice the feeling of your breath and the air temperature on your skin
Do you smell anything?
What do you hear nearby? Far away?
Open your eyes and observe what is around you like you are seeing it for the very first time.
Spend at least 5-10 minutes each day, quietly observing nature and recording observations in your journal
There are many resources on the internet for nature journal ideas. Below is a link to download a Nature Discovery Journal. This is a free resource tool for beginners with some journal prompts and information about bird, animal tracks and some other observation activities. The pdf version below can be printed on both sides of the page and folded to make a booklet.
Below is a mobile friendly version to view prompts and information and write in your own journal.
You can follow the prompts and suggestions in this booklet and let your gratitude and curiosity grow as you become more aware and let yourself freely express what you are noticing through word and drawings.
Before you begin sitting quietly, noticing and journaling, always be mindful of possible hazards in your surroundings. Be aware of the weather, the terrain, poisonous plants, dangerous insects, reptiles, and animals that may be
harmful to you. Don’t put yourself in danger!