Resources on Nature Journaling

Books

There are only a few books on nature journaling. There are books on nature studies and nature drawing. Here are our top picks. Given the exchange rate, these books can be expensive. Consider asking your local library to order them. Then you and others can benefit from these special resources.

 

  • "The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling" by John Muir Laws ISBN: 978-1597143158  

  • "Make a Date with Nature: An introduction to nature journaling" by Paula Peeters.

        An excellent, brief introduction. Available for free from her website. Scroll down her home page to

        request the ebook.

 

  • "Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You" 

        by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth, 2nd edition 2003, ISBN: 1-58017-493-0

  •  "Artist's Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures Paperback”

        by Cathy Johnson, June 2011

  •  “Field Notes on Science & Nature” editor Michael R. Canfield ISBN: 978-0-674-05757-9.

        If you are interested in science, this is a brilliant book. It is not a how-to, but rather a collection of

        essays on field notes by professionals in different fields.

Websites

The internet hosts excellent resources on how to nature journal. With the COVID-19 pandemic, local in-person nature journaling classes and outings were put on hold. Schooling in some parts of the world went online as did environmental education programmes, adding to the resources available from the homeschooling movement. A few stand apart. None of these are Southern African specific, but all have wells of knowledge, insights and styles that you can personalise and from which you can grow.

Donna L. Long's website stands out for its combination of ways to nature journal:

She uses photos and shares tips on nature photography. Many of her blog posts are inspired by

her own nature journal entries observing life around her home and in a community ecological gardens (Delaware River Valley in the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Her writing covers ecology, natural history, ethics and environmental justice issues.

"By being mindful of what we do,

we are not saving the Earth,

we are saving life on Earth, including ourselves.

We can’t take, take, take without giving something in turn.

I try to highlight our symbiotic role with the land in my writings." 

Paula Peeters' website Paperbark Writer where "Australian nature meets science and art".

Check out this post: in which she adds the prompt "It makes me feel..." to the well recognised triology: "I notice... I wonder .. It reminds me of ...".  Her entries are distinctive with a style that is whimsical, engaging and varied. Scroll through her blog entries for inspiration and smiles!

 

John Muir (aka Jack) Laws  website has changed substantially in the 6 months (since April 2020). New content includes

1. The Nature Journal Connection   Free educational video series (first video posted in October 2020) "Forty 15-min nature journaling workshops "featuring fun and engaging activities that build the skills of a scientist, naturalist, artist, and observer." They plan to release one each week through July 2021. "Appropriate for children of all ages as well as adults, this program connects science, language arts, math, visual arts, critical thinking, mindfulness, wonder, curiosity, and joy."

2. There are now over 350 blog posts and videos on his website - up from 240 just over a year ago!  Pre-COVID-19 videos are mostly 90 minutes long. They were recorded at the monthly workshops he conducted for the Bay Area Nature Journaling Club. 

For new blog posts check Recent Blogs which is currently updated at least weekly. For past blog posts and videos check his Blog Archives.

The topics cover how to record

many subjects: sounds, plants, animals of land and water, fungi, landscapes, water

phenomenon: wildfire, weather, solstices and equinoxes, 

in different medium: graphite, ballpoint pens, coloured pencils, watercolour, gouache 

on different surfaces: white, toned and stipple paper, and frosted mylar

a wide variety of techniques: diagramming, mapping, doodling, drawing and writing

 

   Here is a shortlist of where to start:

  • ​​Introduction to Nature Journaling  The video workshop is a great orientation to nature journaling. It covers what it is, how to start and keep nature journaling, and how to set up you nature journaling kit. Also, check out the blog archives for the most extensive and generous learning pot on the web.

 

  • Curiosity video workshop “Curiosity is not a trait you are born with. It is a skill that you can develop and refine with practice. It is more essential than any drawing trick or tool and can make a nature journal burst to life.”

  • Paying Attention blog post reflecting on David Sibley’s discovery about juncos. “What is significant to me about this is that rather than being jaded by familiarity, he is still, and perhaps more than ever, open to discovery.

  • The Dyslexic Naturalist with blog post John Muir Laws is a major inspiration for this website and Nature Journaling South Africa. He is dyslexic. He writes about it here. He is a role model for all those with reading difficulties and learning challenges.

Facebook Nature Journal Group as of 1 November 2020 over 16,000 members. Look for posts especially from 

  • Marianne de Jager

  • Akshay Mahajan

  • Gargi Chugh

  • Yvea Moore 

  • Amy Schleser

  • Kathy Rutter

  • Denis Nord

  • Stephanie Dole

  • Laurie Wigham

  • Marcelo Jost

  • Jacob Carr  

International Nature Journaling Week started in 2020 an 8-day programme of suggested topics

almost 40 blog posts from different nature journalers on:

  • fungi

  • using digital drawing 

  • nature journaling with all ages 

  • teaching nature journaling

  • personal journeys and formation of groups 

  • curiosity and nature 

  • why nature journal

  • nature journal without fear

 

Scrolling through these blogs is a wonderful way to see wide range of styles.

How to Teach Nature Journaling

​These resources include activities that can be used in teaching others, and for developing your own practice.

  • "How to Teach Nature Journaling" by John Muir (aka Jack) Laws and Emilie Lygren May 2020. If you can afford to support the authors, please purchase the book. If not, during the pandemic, it can be downloaded at no charge from either Emilie’s or Jack’s website.

Blog posts with useful tips and perspectives

Southern African-Specific Nature Resources

Check out our page on this topic here. Currently, you will find resources on astronomy,  birding, and nature and wildlife generally.

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