• Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      What inspired me to start nature journaling is...years ago, I took some very basic drawing and watercolor classes and tried to sketch things I found around me. I realized that if I remembered the guidelines given by the instructors, without obsessing over perfection, I could actually make pictures! I had always assumed I had no natural artistic talent or ability. But the basic drawing class convinced me that although only a few are great artists, and many others are good artists, even the novice can draw things that look like those actual things they are trying to capture. I remember paying incredibly close attention to some object, natural or man-made, and feeling the flow of energy and joy as I managed to sketch on my drawing pad. Suddenly I noticed things for the first time! I realized how beautiful and interesting the world is, especially the natural world. I realized that beauty and wonder are literally everywhere. I live surrounded by beautiful sights, and yet too often when I walk on a trail, I feel bogged down with my own crappy moods, failing to feel anything or care about the plants, sky, landforms and earth I tread on.  I continually fail to be moved by the sight of deer, bear, wild turkeys, chickadees, or salamanders. But I think I may have a cure for this problem. Taking my journaling supplies out to the woods or the riverbank or the mountain will give me a purpose for being there, and will inspire me to look at everything and think about nothing but what is before me.
    • Lucas
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I've always been interested in nature, and when I started birding seriously, I thought that nature journaling would be a great way to make my experience more memorable. I learned about nature journaling from an OFO online session. When I saw the art on Liz's instagram page, I was immediately hooked, and tried to find out more. That's how I learned about the course. I feel like I would like to do mainly sketching at the start and maybe a little bit of watercolour, and slowly do more and more colour. I feel like the drawings are more important than the text, and I want my field journal to have memories and be organized.
    • Gwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I have always loved being present in nature, and feeling the calm that it imparts to me, and wanted to find ways to share what I see and feel with others. Photography has only taken me so far in this endeavor, and my writing tends to be either too technical or too personal. After starting to participate in Feeder Watch, I noticed this course, and decided that it aligned perfectly with my goal of communicating what I see in nature to others, and with my return to drawing, a long-lost hobby from my teen years.  I have never tried to paint, so that will be a new experience. My journals will reflect my time in nature, perhaps with first drafts and notes from a walk or hike that are completed when I return home. (Perhaps when I develop some drawing and painting confidence I won't wait until the return home.) I like the idea of adding in  taxonomic information, and capturing date/time/place/weather. I am an avid birdwatcher, still learning a lot about species identification and behavior, but love the idea of including wildflowers, scenes, and other critters in my journal.
    • Jay
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I am drawn (haha) to the informality of journaling.  It's very in the moment.  Nature is so varied there is always something new to see, perhaps in a different light or distance.  I'm hoping these lessons get me actively journaling as a habit without the need to go to a certain place in the house or at a certain time.   I like writing and creating art so combining should be fun!  I may add some quick poetry into my journal as well.
    • Melody
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I recently started nature journaling as a way to put down my experiences while birding and to learn more about the things I see. Since COVID started in the spring I took up painting and often birds were the subject. Nature journaling was a class offered on the site I was taking classes and I immediately felt drawn to combining my interest in art and nature. Looking at the variety of journals showed me how my journal should be a reflection of what interests me and what I am curious about and that it is really a personal remembrance of special moments and experiences unique to me and not necessarily for others. Entries can have a wide variety of topics or zero in on one subject. It really depends on the day and where my interest takes me. Since birding is usually what takes me out into nature I always include on my page a list of the birds I have seen that day. I will find this interesting in future trips to a certain spot to compare what I see on another day. I have not as yet sketched in the field, but tend to bring things home to sketch and look up pictures online of interesting birds I have seen that day. I hope to learn more about sketching birds and landscapes as I see them.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      This course was a Christmas gift from my son.  And as I noted from earlier submissions,  I am not the only one who received this as a gift…. it is a wonderful and challenging gift. During this era of Covid-19, it is a great way to use my time as we isolate here in New York.  Having looked at the various examples of journals, I can see that I am a mere beginner, but hope to be able to capture some of the things which I observe in nature.  I will begin with simple pencil sketches and hope to try using color (pencils or watercolor) as I gain courage.  I think I will start small, and concentrate on our backyard!  And perhaps, with time, venture a bit further afield.  I like the idea of simple sketches including closeups. One journal idea I may zero in on is concentrating on the changes in a very small section of my garden.  I received a book this Christmas of a man who had a project of photographing all the changes during one year in a one square meter section of the prairie near his home, so perhaps I will do the same with my journal and follow the idea of adding something daily, or weekly.....as the one journaler did so artistically!
    • jenica
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      My father gifted me this course as a Christmas present.  I studied art years ago before raising my family, and this course is my first step in the water after 13 years or so.  I’m looking forward to finding more quiet moments with nature and art, as a way to bring more peace to my life.  I really enjoyed the journals with bold water color styles, and also liked it when artists framed their work.  I like the idea of documenting paired with art, as a way to cement learning and attention to the subject matter at hand.
    • Chloe Hernandez
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      1. I am a lover of all things nature, animals, plants, fungi, and landscapes. I have always taken photos of these things but I have always felt incomplete when I reflect on the photos. Photos cannot capture how I truly feel in the moment. I have always yearned to paint those photos in real-time but never had the time or a journal! I became inspired to nature journal by nature itself. I want to remember what's around me by drawing it instead of taking digital photos. 2. I want to approach nature journaling as a relaxing and educational outlet. I enjoyed Holly's monthly nature journal because of its simplicity. She drew the observations that were interesting to her. I also enjoyed Liz's landscape art from the Galapagos. I want to paint what I find interesting whether it be animals, plants, fungi, landscapes, identify them, and write down interesting tidbits. 3. n/a
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I gave myself this course for Christmas. My ability to draw is almost non-existent, and that is the reason I am taking this class. I think practicing sketching and drawing will help me improve my daily journaling. There are times when words just aren't enough.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      My husband gave me this course for Christmas, and I’m just diving in. I’ve grown to love my bird feeders and nature that surrounds us in our retirement destination.  My mother was an avid birdwatcher and I remember loving to sit on her back porch watching the comings and goings.  Over the past few years, and learning more about seed, I’ve been able to cultivate a variety of species.  Tapping into my art training (that has been lying dormant for way too many years) I’m looking forward to playing around with a journal.  I liked seeing how others went about getting started and setting up their journals.  Taking that first step is always a bit scary, but once in it is great fun!
    • L
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I got this course as a gift and am doing it with my mother. I think this is a very good way to grow closer to nature
      • Wesley
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        Me too! I got this course for Christmas from my grandma and I just started it with my mom!
    • Midori
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1. What inspired you to begin nature journaling? I was gifted this course by my boyfriend for Christmas, and I'm excited to capture to capture and record the memories I make while hiking/walking. I kept a nature journal as a first grader and remember how much fun it was to be part scientist, part artist. I'm excited to evoke that feeling again and observe the world around me with a keener eye. 2. Which ideas or approaches do you want to try? I'm a perfectionist, so the first speaker's boxes and how "everything had its place" appeals to me. I typically get paralyzed by perfection which often stunts beginnings and continuation, so I'll let myself lean on more structure than not in the beginning. Truthfully, though, I'd love to take on a more organic and freeform approach where I let myself draw/sketch/paint whatever I have the time for, and to not get caught up in lack of specifics. 3. (n/a)
    • Anna
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      My dad gave me this course as a gift, and I'm so excited to learn from others and share! I'm an environmental educator and artist who has been journaling on and off for awhile, and I want to gain some new perspectives that can also help me with teaching. I do a lot of studio art but want to become more comfortable with sketching in the field, and just enjoying being present in the moment. I became especially inspired to try more journaling over the summer, when I watched a bunch of John Muir Laws's amazing online workshops. I really like Jewel Alston's journaling approach, and I also want to try out a loose style that uses both sketches and some prose to capture memories. One journaling practice that I really enjoy is the use of a sound map. To do this, simply find a place to sit and listen for awhile, describing the sounds that you hear scattered around you in a map. You can sketch them in spectogram format, too if you'd like.
    • Jeanne
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I want the discipline of really noticing details & being consistent in my record keeping, As a teacher for years I had my students keep a year-long nature journal that we added to regularly thru trips outside, observing bird feeders from the classroom, bringing in a caught mackerel and even a live lobster.  Now I am retired and I have time to really work on my journaling. I have much to improve!
    • Leo
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Like many others here, I received this as a gift. I bird and keep records of the  species I see and wanted to combine my interest birds, sketching and being outside into one activity instead of dividing my time among them. It appeals to me as a means of recording my outings and travels. Also, like some, I need an incentive to pick up my sketchbook and paints; I’m hoping this will inspire me! I liked a number of the journal approaches and will likely incorporate things like quick sketch impressions, multiple notes and a few scattered “finished” sketches with color. I definitely will drop the inner critic that tells me to finish something with details I didn’t observe. I especially like the idea of sketching with water color to quickly give a sense of the tone of what you’re sketching! Lastly, I’m impressed with the sketches and paintings I saw submitted by some of the participants. They give me something to aspire to.
    • Courtney
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I wanted to begin nature journaling because I began bird watching with feeders in my backyard. I have also come across other peoples journals of natural journaling and love it. I am inspired by the imagines they capture and the detail they put into it, along with how much information they learn from just journaling about it. I want to try the journaling approach as the first journalist shared. I love how she has a personal field guide but it can also just be for recording experiences or observations.
    • Janine
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      I love hearing about how the people journaling had to look so closely and appreciate whatever they were drawing much more than just hearing/seeing a bird, etc. and naming it and moving on. I like Jewel Alston's journaling style. I like that the journal doesn't have to be perfect. There can be bloopers and multiple attemps to capture something they see. I tend to want everything to look pretty, which can make my drawings look more frozen, so I'm hoping that journaling will loosen up my drawings. I really want to learn to ID the sparrows of the Southwest, so I like the idea of creating a personal field guide.
    • Jenny
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Like many here, the extreme boredom and fear of the pandemic helped me notice the changing spring around me.  I wanted some way to document these changes and have a creative outlet to focus my anxious energy.  I started creating a field guide to bird in my backyard, but quickly realized I was woefully inadequate.  I have ZERO experience with art. I am also impressed with the traveling nature journals.  I was fortunate enough to go to the Galapagos in 2019, and my only regret is that I didn't have the course previously to help me create a memory book.
    • Ashley
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I have been very interested in birding and have taken many beautiful photos.  I want to go to the next level and draw/paint/write about what I see and observe.  I don’t think of myself as an artist, but I look forward to seeing what happens.  I liked the variety of the nature journals presented and feel like I can create a journal that will represent me and my vision.
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I was inspired to begin nature journaling because I love the outdoors, hiking and watching birds.  Also have bird feeders and am familiar with most of the birds in our region.   I enjoyed the first journalist presented.  I like the idea of making a box to contain her picture even though it flowed outside the box in some spots.  Also her circle close ups to provide more detail.  I have not worked with watercolor before so I am anxious to learn how to add this to our sketches.
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Like the commenter below, I took the bird drawing class that Liz taught, and was then inspired to do more. I think of myself as being very unartistic, but have always wanted to learn how to draw, and I also love birds and being in nature. I don't know yet what style of journal I want to follow - for the moment, I want to focus on improving my drawing skills and taking a stab at using water colors. I'm also intrigued by how journalers are able to capture images so well when the subject matter doesn't stay still for long (e.g., warblers  - anytime I observe them, they are in constant motion).
    • Jacqueline
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      My interest began after the class on drawing birds that Liz taught.   I don't feel like I can draw, yet what I drew in that class surprised me.   I love birds and plants and being outside, so we'll see- it's an adventure.
    • Wanda
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      1. I started taking classes on drawing birds by John Muir Laws when I retired a few months ago. I have never engaged in artistic expression of any kind, but have always enjoyed art connected with nature. I’m just beginning to stumble through finding my way to participate with art and nature. I asked for this class as a Christmas gift and my goal was to more methodically approach this new adventure and also to add watercolor skills. 2.  I liked the zooming in, the mixture of sketching and more detailed colored images. I also like mixing in information about date, location and what was observed, with not too many words. I also liked that people mentioned that you don’t have to finish works or include details you couldn’t see when circumstances don’t allow. 3.  Maybe mix in a haiku here and there; maybe add in ideas for future activities stimulated during the journaling process.
    • Christopher
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      What inspired me to start nature journaling now - versus back when I was at Cornell's Lab of Ornithology during the summer of 2017 or 2018 - was a teacher workshop through New York Botanical Garden about amplifying underrepresented voices in the science classroom. One of the assignments was to go out into nature and do a simple drawing and quick recording - similar to what we've seen in the videos so far. It got me thinking about how I just started to draw again (after a many-year-hiatus) and how this would help me develop my skills that are super rusty now. After seeing the videos, I'm definitely interested in doing the Date-Time-Weather-Location box on the page, however, I also liked how some drawings were boxed after being done, or even the daily drawing challenge. A part of me is wondering should I just dive right into the deep end, or slowly swim in from the shallows so that I'm not overwhelming myself. I know the possibilities are endless!
    • Miriam
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I've always had an interest in the connection between nature and the arts. I believe that capturing nature through art can help a person find a connection to nature that they didn't have beforehand. I have been drawing animals since I was very young, and would love to have a career in which I can be around and study animals, but also have opportunities to draw them (scientific illustration, or some sort of integration of the arts into wildlife biology). I would love to challenge myself by journaling every day, as it would help improve my skills, and I would have a visual record of my adventures. I think that I may try and integrate some new materials in the journaling process as well.