Why Nature Journal?
"Every day you can fill your mind with wonder and
fill your journal with a record of the beauty
you have experienced.
The process will build strength,
resilience, equanimity, and gratitude."
John Muir Laws, The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling, page 2
If you have not started, why would you begin?
Well, it is ridiculously fun, relaxing and refreshing. Plus, it’s good for you! It combines the positive effects of spending time in nature with those of journaling and drawing.
There are appealing benefits from combining being in nature with hand-recording your observations and feelings. Recording by hand helps you to slow down. By slowing down, you relax and notice more. You experience more. You notice connections and mysteries. In doing so, you create a space of peace, calm and awe in your life.
Research findings report that the benefits include:
Good for mental and physical health
Decreases anxiety and rumination 
Promotes relaxation and calmness
Increases vitality; energises, refreshes, refocuses; and helps to ground us
Deepens connection with nature 
Learn about nature from nature
Slowing down and paying attention connects you with nature and with places from which so many people have been alienated and from which so many have been displaced.
See wildlife behaviours and experience nature in a different way, as wildlife accepts your presence, and you observe over longer periods of time 
Encourages use of community resources such as libraries, nature groups and nature spaces to continue learning about nature.
Develops thinking skills
Helps to organise thoughts, feelings and experiences
Can develop self-awareness and awareness of others and the world.
Curiosity skills for inquiry, investigation, synthesis and problem-solving. John M Laws describes a “Curiosity Vortex” in which initial curiosity ‘ … stimulate(s) a cascade of delight and inquiry.” , 
Develops perception, analysis and insights 
Helps to learn how to spot logical fallacies  and recognise biases and blind spots
“Scientific habits of mind give you a framework for problem-solving and protect you from many of the natural pitfalls of the mind. Strive for humility and clarity.” 
Improves memory and learning
Writing by hand improves memory over other recording methods, except drawing , 
Drawing improves memory more than writing , 
Effect of improved memory, with drawing over writing, is more pronounced with older people 
Improves recognition and identification of animal, plant, and fungi species
Improves recognition and understanding of habitats and ecosystems
Inspires and develops creativity and communication skills
Develops creativity skills such as seeing patterns and connections
Helps develop a personal process, style, approach and purpose
Develops recording, writing and drawing skills
Develops skills in design, graphics, layout and presentation of ideas
Source of inspiration for other creative efforts
Versatile and within your reach
Nature journaling is easy to do. It is not a talent; it is a set of skills that you can learn.
Adaptable to almost any budget
Possible to do in just about every place
Can be done at any time
Can be done in any and all written languages
And nature journaling with others
Connects community - as individuals with nature journal buddies, with friends and family, with groups like the Nature Journaling South Africa.
Contributes to and opens opportunities to increase diversity in existing nature groups.
Encourages formation of new groups.
Encourages active participation in stewardship, including conservancy and environmental justice efforts.
Document work done to restore and nurture the environment.
Bring attention to the effects of climate change and environmental collapse 
A way to contribute to citizen science projects in South Africa such as special projects on iNaturalist). "A nature journal can also be used to compile species sightings and other more scientific observations that are of great value to citizen science projects."
Nature journaling is an ideal hobby. It is also a powerful professional and programmatic tool. The skills identified above develop through practice. Whatever you do for work or play, nature journaling can deepen your experience. This holds true whether you are new to nature and to journaling, or if you are already a naturalist, visual artist, writer, language and cultural activist, environmental educator, homeschooling parent or public school teacher.
This simple starting point is a journey shaped by you. It can be a relaxing activity, as well as a profound connection with nature. It can be an inspiring way to develop how you think about and relate to the world.
References and Reading
 "The benefits of nature experience: Improved affect and cognition" by Gregory N.Bratman
(a), Gretchen C.Daily (b), Benjamin J.Levy (c), James J.Gross (d)
 "The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling" by John Muir Laws, pages 8-9
 Cell Press. "How curiosity changes the brain to enhance learning." ScienceDaily,
2 October 2014. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141002123631.htm
 "The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling" by John Muir Laws, page 16
 "Keeping a Nature Journal" by Clare Walker Leslie, page 13
[6 ] "The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling" by John Muir Laws, page 16
 "Why Writing by Hand Could Make You Smarter, In surprising studies, researchers find benefits
to setting keyboards aside." Posted Mar 14, 2013
 "Why Using Pen And Paper, Not Laptops, Boosts Memory: Writing Notes Helps Recall Concepts,
Ability To Understand", Feb 6, 2014 12:18 pm
by Lizette Borreli [at] lizcelineb or l.borreli [at] medicaldaily.com
 The drawing effect: Evidence for reliable and robust memory benefits in free recall
(2016). The drawing effect: Evidence for reliable and robust memory benefits in free recall. The
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Vol. 69, No. 9, pages 1752-1776.
 The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory" Myra A. Fernandes, Jeffrey D.
Wammes, Melissa E. Meade, First Published August 30, 2018 Research
 "Drawing as an Encoding Tool: Memorial Benefits in Younger and Older Adults" by
Melissa E. Meade, Jeffrey D. Wammes & Myra A. Fernandes
pages 369-396 | Received 05 Apr 2017, Accepted 20 Jan 2018, Published online: 09 Oct 2018
 "Beyond knowing nature: Contact, emotion, compassion, meaning, and beauty are pathways to
nature connection." Lumber R, Richardson M, Sheffield D (2017) PLoS ONE 12(5): e0177186.
 "Make a Date with Nature: An introduction to nature journaling" by Paula Peeters, page 6