• Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      My relationship with my husband began at the University of Wisconsin -Stevens Point. Through his forestry major at the college of natural resources, he helped connect me with nature. From laying on the forest floor to watching  the return of the Woodcock we had just seen take off to observing the pre-dawn  mating of the prairie chicken at the Buena Vista Marsh, he immersed me in God’s creation. Taking this course brings me back to our roots  and I remember him while creating something new. I’m excited to improve my drawing skills, focusing less on technology and my phone, and observing and listening to the quiet.
      • Patricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        How lovely your experience!  Drawing closer to Creation by making creations is a wonderful way to connect to the Divine, and the quiet is where we really hear it.
    • Marie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      1. I am interested in learning about the various birds that I see in my yard and when I go for a hike. Each week I pick a different type of bird and try to learn interesting facts about it. I then do a quick drawing of it using pencil and markers. This nature journaling  course seems like a wonderful way to inspire me to continue learning about birds and animals and nature itself. 2. I want to make sure that I include the date, the location and the weather on each entry that I make. I would like to be able to draw what I see and include various observations. I would like to be able to include details of plants and birds, etc. when possible. I like the "box" idea of helping to establish where and how large to draw, but having it a flexible box sounds like a fun way to draw.
      • Patricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        Neat! You sound very organized, and determined to learn more about birds.  That's great!
    • Olwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Olwen @ Island Beach State Park 2019
    • Olwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      I am excited by the this course. I simply want to learn the skills needed to draw and also use watercolor paints.I did a "big sit" with 2 friends both of who drew and wrote as we all sat in silence..they could draw....I felt very limited in my drawing  skills!! I am very comfortable with writing. So far I have appreciated the use of geometric shapes to get an outline for a bird. I like the box idea. Holly Faulkner's journal was amazing..did she do many quick little sketches before the beautifully painted pages? What is the purpose of a large and a small moleskin journal?
    • Natalie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      1. I have an interest in improving my sketching skills as well as improving skills to help identify birds. My journaling and sketching focus will be on bird identifying features and characteristics as well as their behavior. 2. I love hearing about the details and individuals focusing in on their memories.  
    • ellen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I'm very excited to be starting to journal again. I have done some writing in the past, but adding drawings and paintings will be much more interesting and fun! I learned to draw using "Drawing on the Right-Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards, but I stopped doing it on a regular basis. One of the appeals of this course is to start me up and keep me going with new ideas. I am doing this with a friend which is an added inspiration. I retired this year and this is a gift to myself.
      • Karen
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        I had forgotten about Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  I have lost sight of my copy and the desire to draw..until now.
    • Steve
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I’ve tried many times to log my observations and to slow down. Keeping a journal is a good way to do that, to really see in every way and savour. All of the examples have something to offer and have made me think of options. I’m  at the stage of exploring, clarity and simplicity are most important to me.
    • Anita
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I was so excited to hear about this course. I love watching nature around me. Two weeks ago I had the gift of watching 5 Monarch butterflies hatch from their chrysalises! I photographed & wrote but it would have been awesome to capture the event in art form. I have recently started making art quilts which led me into fabric "painting" with ink & thread & peaked my interest in watercolor. So put all that together & what could be better than a course in nature journaling!20190922_093124
      • Patricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        How exciting!  There is a certain joy in photography, but I agree that another art form beside simply drawing, might be awesome . Good luck with the fabric art!
      • Anita
        Participant
        Chirps: 4

        @Patricia I think drawing will almost feel like you're  participating with whatever you're watching.

      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Thank you for sharing this beautiful photo! 😊
    • Chris
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Greetings fellow "classmates". Thanks Liz for making the class available. As a lifelong amateur naturalist, I have have always relied on written descriptions of what I've observed either in the field or in my study.With the advent of hi-resolution phone cameras, I've been able to get some great photos, but there is a lack of personalization of the feelings I have when I observe something that words and photographs don't capture.  Like others in the class have shared, I too have NEVER been very good at drawing, which has always been the barrier to me trying to consistently draw what I see. I was inspired by your introduction for the class and this first segment was helpful in that it showed a variety of artisitc skills and styles of journaling that seemed very approachable.
    • 1.a. I am not good at drawing.  Never have been.  So I've not done a lot of it.  (Like most people, I have concentrated my limited time resources on pursuits that I am good at.)  Watercolour painting I have not done at all (unless one counts making messy splotches on cheap paper as a small child with absolutely zero skill whatsoever).  I would like to change this.  I would like to develop some skills in the visual arts.  As I love spending time in nature, this course is the perfect opportunity for me to work on this goal. 1.b. I am good at writing.  So I've done a lot of that.  I have kept a written journal for over 30 years now and at this point have a large tote full of old journals that I will never have the time to go back and read.  Also: now that my eyes have gotten older, I need reading glasses to go back and read anything in any of my old journals.  Ugh!  I would like to start incorporating drawing and painting in my journals to expand the repertoire of my creative skill set--to learn to capture ideas, observations, and memories in a form other than the written word.  Through this practice I hope to create a book of memories which I will be able to enjoy without the need for reading glasses, one which will capture moments-in-time of beauty and interest which I will be able to re-live at a glance--taking in the whole picture at once instead of parsing through an experience word-by-word as one does in reading a written account.  (I am not giving up writing by any means.  I just want to add pictures as a new dimension to my work.) 1.c. I have been doing a lot of nature photography in recent years.  I will take hundreds of photographs on a typical day's hike and end up uploading 50-100 (and sometimes even more) observations to iNaturalist after a longer hike.  I have learned a lot through this process.  But it has its drawbacks.  A large part of the enjoyment of getting out in nature for me is the opportunity to get away from the technology which rules so much of our modern lives.  When I have a camera up to my face, I am bringing technology into the very realm I use to escape from technology!  I experience the camera as a barrier to immersion.  And I often end up spending even more time sorting through, editing, and uploading my photographs after a hike than I spent enjoying my time in the field!  Also: a camera has limitations in what it will reproduce.  In some respects it is better than my naked eyes.  But in others, the interplay between my retinas and brain produces superior results.  I'm not going to give up photography or iNaturalist--but I do want it to take a back seat, at least some of the time, to full immersion in nature without any kind of barrier between my eyes and the natural world. 1.d. There is no way I can create hundreds of drawings in a single day.  The process of sketching and painting my observations will be for me a means of  slowing down and making my observation experience more meditative.  It will be an opportunity to eschew volume in favour of a greater focus on detail, and through this to develop a more intimate connection with the subjects of my observation.  I hope through this practice to develop my observational skills and thereby enhance my learning in the field. 2.  As a means to building a habit and developing my skills, I am going to commit to journalling every day.   I know it is not realistic for me to attempt to complete a painting or even a sketch every day for a year.  So my commitment is to complete a sketch every day for 60 days, for the period from October 22-December 20, and to add colour in some form to at least 50% of these sketches.  Once I have achieved this goal I will re-assess and determine a new commitment for how frequently I will continue my nature journalling practice going forward. 3.a. I live in Canada.  Painting en plein air here year-round is not possible.  I definitely want to get out into the field to sketch and paint whenever possible.  But I'm taking this course heading into the winter.  There are going to be days when being outside entails being bundled up like the Michelin Man.  So I'm going to make a study of my backyard feeder birds over the winter. 3.b. Even as I try to loosen my iron grasp on reliance on the written word, the writer in me cannot resist a good old-fashioned linear narrative.  So I plan to try at least some of my journal pages in a storyboard format (e.g. depicting the same bird in multiple poses to demonstrate sequentially the movements of a specific behaviour).  Maybe this is a crutch for someone with my background?  Maybe it is a workable style I will stick with long term?  I don't know.  But I think it will help me to get started.
      • Hello Laura Rainbow Dragon, I was out of the office for the first two days of the class and overwhelmed and thrilled at the number of posts everyone is doing. I had to laugh at your Michelin Man description. Several folks that are nearing winter have mentioned this. Here at Cornell Lab of Ornithology we have a pretty long and cold winter in Upstate New York. Some of us have for the last couple years committed however to going on trail walks during every single lunch break year round, even if the temperature is below zero Fahrenheit. What I have learned for this is that it being out in nature is possible even when super cold if you invest in the right apparel.  I bought a super awesome warm jacket that goes down to my knees and has a nice hood. It is very thick and heavy with fiber fill. I cannot feel any cold air through it. I don't quite look like Michelin Man (maybe close) but it isn't for the fashion runway so I'm good with that. Then I bought some Arctic Ice Muck Boots that are rated for -40F and it keeps my feet toasty warm even when -15 F. I get so hot on our winter walks in that outfit that I have to leave the hood down to cool off. As far as your hands the best thing I can suggest is some kind of battery operated hand warmer to keep in your pocket. You might want to take walks in the winter when bundled up and do your journals from memory as soon as you get inside.  Otherwise you might be able to find a Nature Center or other public building that has nice views of wildlife from indoors like bird feeders or lakes or ponds, or ocean, trees etc that can be viewed from indoors. We have people in this class from around the world so I am excited to see what people in the warmer climates are going to post while we are in the frozen time of year. Looking forward to posts from Australia, India, Africa, and Central America. I will say there are tons of things to witness even in the dead of winter so you will be surprised what is going on year round.  In December we had one day that warmed up enough that a frog came out. A Blue Jay got ahold of it and was eating it.  It was caching the frog leg in the crook of the tree for eating later. There is always something interesting going on out there and winter is great time to journal signs of nature such as tracks in the snow and scat. Birds are out there no matter what the weather.  Thanks Laura and everyone else for all these amazing posts.
      • @Lee Ann van Leer Hi Lee Ann,   I think we are almost at the same latitude.  I live very close to Rondeau Provincial Park in Ontario, which you may know is a globally significant IBA.  ( https://www.ibacanada.com/site.jsp?siteID=ON007 )  So yes, we have lots of interesting birding in the area year round.  My backyard is not as exciting for birding as Rondeau, but I have recorded 69 species in my yard since I started keeping track 11 months ago.  So no shortage of subjects here!   The Visitor Centre at Rondeau Park does have a large window that looks out onto their bird garden.  But their feeder birds are mostly the same as my feeder birds.  So I like to spend my time in the park out on the trails or on the waterfront, where I can see species of birds and other wildlife that we don't get in town.  I do hike in Rondeau year-round.  So I will take your suggestion of journalling from memory as a goal to work towards, once I have developed more confidence in sketching in general.   I too am excited to see what course participants in other parts of the world will be posting.   Our planet is such an amazing place!

    • Kieki
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      1.  What inspired me - I came across Claire Leslie Walker's journaling and since then been wanting to do nature journaling.  I love nature and I love art, and I love seeing the combination of journaling and art together.  I've started a journal several years ago with my children, and even though we have fun, we stopped.  Life gets busy. 2.  I'd like to try the combination of art and notes. I love the idea of using water color. I've been using color pencils which can take a long time, and then when I get busy I don't have the time to do this.  I also struggle with drawing live objects, so I'll get pictures and draw that but that removes you from experiencing that in nature.  I'm looking forward to making this a part of my life.
      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Claire Walker Leslie’s books are true gems!
      • Christina
        Participant
        Chirps: 19

        @Nancy I do love Claire Walker Leslie's book! "Nature Drawing" is on my bookshelf in my workspace, and I've had it since 1984, bought at the Cornell University bookstore just before graduating...  I always told myself I was going to find a time in my life to keep a nature journal... Dreams do come true if you give them enough time!

      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 23

        @Christina Yes! They sure do! She is an excellent inspiration. Enjoy!

    • glynda
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I am beginning nature journaling because I have several bird feeders in my backyard and watch the birds from my chair in the sunroom as well as outside.  I have binoculars which have made bird watching really exciting.  Drawing is a hobby so I look forward to documenting the activity in my backyard via drawing, painting and journaling.
    • glynda
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Do I need both journal types?
      • Paige
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        I asked that question of Liz a couple weeks ago. She said the larger one is for practicing and lessons and the smaller one is for your "official" journal. But I think it's ultimately up to you if you want one that's kind of a keepsake or just want to work on skills, or have your "official" journal include lots of practice drawings.
    • Coral
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Hello, I'm am very pleased and hopeful to be taking this course.  I've been an avid bird photographer for the past 6 years. But I find that I need more information and knowledge and I feel that sketching and journaling will provide  me with a greater range of skills to achieve my goals.  I am retired now but I've always been a life long learner.   Thank you!    CB. Southern Ontario, CA  
    • Rlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      1. I am a birder and take pictures of birds in the Mariana Islands where I live. I received a course announcement from Cornel Lab and decided to take this opportunity to learn how to journal. It is something I've wanted to do for some time now, and if I can learn how to do it with a subject matter that I enjoy observing, I know that I can tell the story about birds in another medium, journaling and it can be something that I can leave behind for my grandchildren. I also listened to a few of Liz's videos and decided that she is someone I can learn from, I look forward to this journey. 2. I enjoyed listening to all the journalers and what observation motivated them to include in their journal. I like the different ideas and envy them because they have been to the Galápagos Islands. I hope that one day, I too can go there and sketch into my journal a cormorant in its nest. Or any bird feeding it's young. However, of the variety of journaling examples, I like the idea of the monthly journal because it highlights the emotional moments. I also like the layout and spacing. It made me feel good and want to listen to the story behind the images. The arrangement drew me in all directions, curious about how they tie together. If only the journaler's interests. 3. No. In fact, my journaling idea is word intensive, and I'd like my journal to look more like theirs. I have pictures in my journal, and I can see right away that pencil, ink, and watercolors add a wonderful dimension to the visual story. I cannot wait for my supplies to arrive.
      • Montecito
        Participant
        Chirps: 22
        I am a birder too, a beginner.  I was also very motivated by the video of the journals. I would love to concentrate on birds too. I hope you enjoy the course.
    • Margaret
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I recently retired and am spending more of my time at my second home in Maine. The property is part of a larger farm on which I grew up and includes a pond that recalls lots of childhood memories of watching the birds, frogs, etc.  I am definitely a beginner in my sketching, but wanted to chronicle the nature and changing seasons around my pond, woodland and meadow. Especially interested in the birds that are about the property and at feeders.
    • Aimee
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      1. I am an artist and a naturalist, I have been drawing from my own photographs (plants, birds & fungi) for a few years, but have increasingly become frustrated with the amount of time this requires in front of a screen. While it has been very useful to create detailed drawings, I'd like to introduce nature journalling to expand upon my time outdoors, to slow down and really study things in 3D (movement, behavior, habitat, emotion, etc.), rather than recreating a flat image. 2. I appreciate the looseness of the some of the sketchbooks, as I tend to focus on detail, I am hoping this course will help me loosen up, to create a more free flowing record of what I'm observing. 3. Additionally I want to include notes on sounds I am hearing.
    • Michael
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1. When I was younger I would draw nearly daily. Boredom in class was often remedied by simply sketching on the paper as I took notes. Sometime in middle school I just seemed to walk away from it even though it had been a defining activity for me since kindergarten. Even today when I put pen to paper I get compliments about my rough sketches or quick cartoons that I whip up, but I don't find them as satisfying as the drawings I once did. When I saw this class I felt the urge to join and try to bring that love the drawing back to life. 2. I take a camera with me when I'm birding, so at first these stories of sitting for hours drawing or painting a single bird seemed a little odd to me. I can take a picture and look at it later. But as I listened I thought maybe I'm missing out on some experiences or insights on the birds by simply snapping a photo and checking my list and moving on. I think this journal will require me to slow down and get to know the birds I'm sketching, I look forward to that.
    • Deborah
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      I have been trying to draw  most of my life and even managed to squeak through a college BA in Fine Arts degree program. However I never feel satisfied that my drawings , still life snippets from nature, are art. Part of my retirement hours are filled with watching birds at the many feeders in my backyard. Of course I occasionally try to draw these birds with little satisfaction with my results. These creatures move around a lot. When I saw the introduction to this course I realized journaling might be an answer to my dissatisfaction. Why do I have to put pressure on myself to draw a finished piece of art. I realized what I enjoyed about drawing is being in the moment, observing nature and revisiting  the drawing  to enjoy the moment again. Soon we will be traveling out west, USA through National Parks. Journaling seems like an excellent way to document our travels.  I also want to learn more about nature and through observation and drawing what I see then researching and documenting with words in a journal I believe will be a good learning tool for me.
    • I absolutely love spending time in nature and observing the details. I don't know how to draw, so am taking this course to help me capture the things I see and experience. I love words and am interested in combining drawing with poetry. I'm scared spitless, because I honestly don't feel I can draw! But I took inspiration and courage from someone who said they were in the same boat as I, and that our instructor was really good with beginners. I figure I'll be able to discover some creative ideas that will work for me. Wish me luck!   So here's a question from a newbie: when she says write in your nature journal, is she referring to the moleskin art watercolor album? Thanks.
      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        It seems she may mean the spiral notebook(?)
      • @Nancy It's a little confusing but thanks for responding!

    • Mike
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1  I trained in math and chemistry.  I noticed with one small flower, I couldn't really see what I was seeing.  I tried to teach myself drawing to improve my observing skills.  Drawing slows me down and forces me to observe more carefully. I  don't know how to judge essential lines and distracting detail in drawing.  I have trouble getting proportions right. 2 I like the draw and redraw approach.  I think it gives me freedom to experiment.  I also like the color from water colors.  I don't know how to control the spread of the color.  I like the idea of picture first, annotations around the picture.  Objects sharing a page helps fill the page. 3 Whenever I open a new notebook, I number the pages and leave the first page blank for a table of contents.  The last page is for an index I create when I have filled the notebook.
    • Luana
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I took a sketching course this past summer and got really hooked.  I was reminded while taking that course that anything can be beautiful if you really focus and see it, however, it takes practice and some skill to depict that thing beautifully.  I have also taken classes on botanical art in watercolor and in colored pencil, and now want to combine this with nature journaling.  I'm not very good at drawing plants and want to improve.  I also want to learn about using a water brush for painting as I currently have difficulties controlling the water flow with them. I have also long been interested in birds and photographing them.  However, I really don't draw them very well.  I'd like to improve this as well. Finally, I want to acquire the habit of making some piece of art (drawing, sketching, painting) every day.  I view art making as a form of meditation and want to expand my skills so that I can focus on seeing the object rather than on the mechanics of mark making.
      • mary jo
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        We all have too many art books, but the one that always stays on my table is The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds. It's an amazing reference for learning everything from posture to feather groups. It will also help focus field sketches.
    • Mary-Louise
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      This course is a birthday present.  I'm semi-retired now and use to draw, but got away from it.  I've always loved nature and now want to return to being creative and noticing the beauty and nature around me.
      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Happy Birthday! Mine too, was a BDay gift from my husband. This course is perfect as a gift or a gift to oneself. Enjoy!
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      I have done a bit of journalling in the past.  I've never been serious about it.  Like other people, I started using a camera instead of sketching.  I'd really like to get back to sketching. I will be going on a trip next year that I really want to document.  So, I'm hoping this course will get me into the habit of journalling regularly and creating a style. I was surprised that the pages had several things on them.  I like that and the notation of the weather. For my trip, I'll probably add the location; latitude and longitude as we'll be as sea. I'm really happy to have found this course at this time and I'm looking forward to getting into it and progressing.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      I’ve been an outdoors person for my entire life, following my dad fishing, wandering my tiny hillside in the foothills of the Apps in PA, going ‘down to the creek (crick)’ as often as I could to turn over rocks and look for crayfish and such. These days I am still outside as much as I can be, but my pace is hurried. I want to see and count ALL the birds. I move, a lot. This course will help me slow down and study the things that make me go, “wow, that’s neat,” and “Hon, I saw the coolest thing on my walk today.” I’m trading the camera for the pencil for a while.