The Importance of Place
As nature journalers, we connect with nature in a specific place and time. We add this information to entries in our nature journal.
It gives personal reference points for us to find entries. This information is also what takes our entries from a sketchbook to potentially scientific data.
A place is also much more. It is a history of the universe, of Earth, of life including people up to and at that moment. "The Nature Journaler's Code of Conduct" uses questions to help each of us explore the importance of place and our relationship, roles and responsibilities in relationship to places in relation to each place as we nature journal. Below are extracts:
"I strive to express my respect practically in my actions. I ask the following questions to figure out my responsibilities.
1. How am I in this space?
What’s my responsibility (do right, intervene &/or report wrongs) when:
- I am alone. I am a group member. I am the group leader.
- What is the purpose of the group:
getting to a destination?
focusing on an aspect of wildlife such as birds or habitat?
2. Who am I in this place?
- Am I a resident, frequent visitor or tourist?
- Does my presence here displace or disadvantage others?
- Does my presence support the exclusion of others?
- Does it benefit the environment and communities around the space?
- Do I know local customs?
- Who walked here before me? What is the history of the space?
I can learn about the human history of spaces and respect the
people associated with them. Have communities been displaced or
Now that I have figured out my place in this space, I can look at practices." For example -
"5. Respecting How I Learn and Grow
I benefit from the knowledge shared by indigenous peoples with colonialists. The early European explorers are attributed with “discovering” and naming many species that are known today. I seek to counter the erasure of indigenous languages and peoples in developing the current state of science.
I also ask myself:
What am I doing to pay it forward?
How am I exercising stewardship?
Is there unacknowledged injustice in the history of a place?"
[ii] See page 17 JML “The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling”.