• Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I've started nature journalling as a way to focus on what I'm seeing and in all honesty as a meditation practice. I'm not what you'd call a gifted artist. I struggle with drawing but I still enjoy it and do it just for me as a way to quiet my mind. Now, seeing the journals of others I feel reassured that whatever I want to do is just fine. It's nice to see the variety of approaches and I like including simple drawings with written notes (I'm much better with words.)
    • Kerry
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
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    • Floating Thing
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      1. What inspired you to begin nature journaling? My interest is birds.  Journaling is less expensive than bird photography and recording bird song.  The equipment for those endeavors can mount into the thousands of dollars.  It's essentially an arms race of equipment.  Plus all that equipment is heavy to lug around.  I wanted to be agile, lightweight, and be able to move quickly to find birds and plants of interest. While a photograph can capture more detail in an instant, I think there is merit in taking the time to observe and capture your impressions on paper.  This imprints the details in your mind, just as taking notes in class forces you to be mindful, thoughtful, and attentive. I'm definitely not an artist.  I hope I can develop my skills to somewhat capture what I see.  Drawing and journaling also seem like a more organic, human way of documenting experience than using engineered products like cameras, lenses, sound recorders, and microphones.  There is charm in seeing the sketchbooks of Leonardo da Vinci.  Learning about nature journals lets me think that I can follow in the steps of Lewis and Clark and capture the nature that I see. 2. Now that you’ve heard from several other journalers about their processes, and had a peek at their journals, which ideas or approaches do you want to try? I like the way the capture the essence of what they’re drawing: the graceful curve of a fern leaf, the texture of a pine cone, the subtle gradations of color, the accurate silhouette of a landscape, deconstructing the form of a bird into overlapping ovals and circles. I like the idea of drawing a picture – first, as a mnemonic to affix the essential and defining characteristics of a bird or plant, and second, as a charming record of my memories. I definitely want to annotate my drawings with details I notice, questions that come to mind, topics for further study, and perhaps hypotheses about why things are the way they are. 3. Do you have a different journaling idea, not mentioned here, that you’d like to share? Journaling is a personal creative endeavor.  Each person will develop a style and structure of their own.
    • Maribeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 43
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      • Maribeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 43
        Journaling for the first time is a challenge. I like to do a lot of photos and need to stop to fill out the journal.  I had been living in Hawaii before 'covid and am now staying in a very cold and unfriendly climate. Wisconsin. I am going through my photos and deciding what to compare in the flower pictures. The Eagle picture is from a 'raptor' shoot at the local Audubon society in Fox Point Wisconsin. The journal will allow me to include pertinent information about the plants, birds, and landscape. The info will be great to have.  I am going to do the 'sit spot' and start to compare and search out information about my subject. I will also try to sketch the wildlife I see. Journaling is a great tool. My grand children are also trying this. I can not wait for it to get warm out so I can work out side and not from a photo.
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I have admired the nature journals I have seen but never felt like I had the time to do one myself. I love the idea of documenting and adding text to pictures. I have thousands of digital photographs organized in folders and realized they showed a progression of nature through the seasons but do not record what I was thinking or observing.  I can look at the photograph and kind of remember the situations but there is no text to tell anyone else the story behind what I was thinking when I took the picture. What a wonderful way to look back and see what was surrounding me at that moment of time. I love flowers and birds and want to create a journal of what I see and feel. Definitely like recording the date, time, weather, location and will work on capturing lots of sketches of birds like D. J. McNeil shared with us. I can start by trying to sketch the birds coming to my new bird feeder!  Screen Shot 2023-02-25 at 11.34.07 PM
    • T.
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I have been bullet Journaling to organize thoughts & obligations for 5 years. Prior to that,  I have travelled with my family & jotted down daily interesting points/highlights.  Something we revisit long after our "trips" are done.  Both styles of journals fed a specific purpose.  Today, I begin learning how to pool the practical,  educational & artistic modalities into a deeply personal account.   I can't wait.  Flexing my brain us cathartic!
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      I want to try nature journaling with my students as a way of helping them slow down and see the world around them.  I've noticed over the years that whether it is a trip to the zoo, a museum, or even out to our on-site prairie restoration garden, the students race through and miss much of what is around them.  I've tried nature journaling in the past with them (and with my son when he was young) and I think if I were more knowledgable and experienced I could incorporate this with greater sucess.
      • anne
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        hello Rebecca, my brother being an artist told me that you have to learn how to observe... I did the same thing that you did with yours students with my own children (5) not in nature but in museum and my daughter is doing the same thing with her kids... I never thought of looking at nature this way and I think I am ready to start a journal ...  
    • Jordan
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      1. I started nature journaling in part because I got this course as a gift, but also because I love art and nature. 2. I think using watercolors would be really pretty, and I also want to include some text in my nature journal.
    • Jeanne
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I think it's a convergence of many things, from my love of photography and nature, my Dad's watercolor paintings - mostly of flowers, to a friend's family of creative people that when they travel together they create a journal notebook of images, words and art from their trip from their breakfasts to sunsets. It's a really unique way to capture memories.  I have a pollinators garden and have been adding items along to bring in the birds and a photograph is taken to quickly, whereas the  journals take time and are a great way to slow down the pace of life. Also, sharing my love of nature with my grand-nieces and -nephews as I hope to pique their interest in nature. I really like the first two journals from the video. Shanya's seemed like what I expect to see when I hear the words nature journaling and Jewel's was more like an artist telling their story with color palettes, words, and images. However, all of them had their own individual beauty. As far my own journaling, I think I will wade in and see what happens. And one day hopefully, I will visit the Galapagos islands and share my journal page of the blue-footed boobies and the basking sea lions.
    • jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      In different ways I've done nature journals for most of my 63 years. However, after too many tragic losses over the past year, I have decided that if I am going to continue doing so, I'd better do it now. My main reason for taking the course was to retrain myself to get in the habit of drawing and writing daily. Currently we are buried under over two feet of snow with another 18" on the way, so my nature walks are currently sharply curtailed. I will start with the birds currently here, but use photo references for ease and comfort. All the journal styles have some merit, but Shayna's most closely resembles my own. I probably won't box everything in though, just the drawings. I did like her 'magnification' of certain aspects and would definitely incorporate that. I am a great fan of botanicals, and hope that my end product mimics the Country Diary style. Watercolours are my medium. I have a few projects in mind for botanicals this year, going from seeds to flowers. We have a few little 'microhabitats' here where plants uncommon to the area flourish and we guard them with great jealousy and zeal. We are great bird watchers, and have a few families of long-billed curlews on the property. We base our haying around what they are doing at any time so they can continue to raise their young. I've been recording them in a special diary (writing only) for the past two or three years. We are in central BC but I grew up on the coast and spent a great deal of time outdoors.
      • jennifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        I meant to add to my already lengthy dissertation; the catalyst for actually signing up for the course came from my uncle. Two days after Christmas Day I watched on the news, as he was shoved into an ambulance after being pulled from his burning apartment. I stood in our living room screaming "That's my uncle!" Three days later he was gone. We were great correspondents, and he had taken a watercolour course through his church so we 'talked shop' a lot in our letters. All my life he was my greatest supporter and cheerleader, and in his last letter to me he said he couldn't wait to see my work in a gallery. And, he insisted I continue my writing. So, to honour my uncle, I signed up for the course and will give it everything I have.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      1. I’ve been an observer of nature since my early childhood. I grew up in rural New England, and spent every summer at a beach cottage along the Massachusetts south coast. I’ve always been surrounded by plants, birds, rocks, and seashore critters. My main interests now are birding, gardening, and bird and landscape photography. Recently, I read Slow Birding, which inspired me to slow down and look more carefully at the natural world. Drawing/painting and making written observations fit in well with the slower approach. I’ve also watched my sister learn how to paint with watercolors over the last year, and we are taking this course together. 2. I like the un-selfconsciousness of the journalists in the video. Some of the journals are messy, some are neat, and the levels of drawing/painting skills are all over the place. But all of the journalists showed a deep connection with their work. The two approaches that resonated most with me are the box organization (I tend to be a bit messy, and structure helps) and the idea of doing a two page monthly spread. That seems manageable to me. 3. I don’t have any other bright ideas yet for journal organization, but might do some brainstorming of layout ideas.
    • Deborah
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I love my garden and I want to watch it with greater intention by nature journaling and preserve my memories of the plants and animals that live in it.
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I'm nature journaling for two reasons: to prepare for a research trip I'm taking to South Carolina in March to learn more about whimbrel and their migration, and because I ask my own students to sketch and journal in science class. I want to experience the process more fully myself so I can relate and give tips to those who get stuck. I'm also excited to hopefully have a meaningful record of my trip like many of the journalers in the video.
    • Emma
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I wanted to start nature journaling to learn more about what I saw in nature. I’m an avid bird watcher and I love learning about them. I think that drawing them and their environments will help me not only learn more but also help me identify them better. I would also like to learn more about the plants I see as well. Overall, my goal for this journal is to learn more about what I observe.
    • Christine
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Inspiration for nature journaling came to me through birdwatching and a couple of videos.   Many years ago I enjoyed the book ‘The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.’  I also watched the video and the series in the 1980’s.  In 2022 I saw the movie ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ and that did it…time to take up nature journaling. I believe Shayna’s approach with what she describes as a loop - drawing, writing, and research will be a good approach for me.  I also like the boxes she cleverly uses to surround the drawings.  All of the journalers contributed amazing ideas that I will return to.  Thank You
    • Kay
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      As a life-long birder from a family of birders and avid Colorado hiker, I've often thought that someday I'd spend more time journaling and sketching what I see. My photographs are lovely documentation but I'm aware that the "pencil is the best eye" as said by nineteenth century naturalist, Louis Agassiz. It's time to take the plunge! I appreciate the introduction highlighting a wide variety of approaches, and no doubt will try a few before settling in to the one most comfortable for me.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I wish that I had kept a nature journal on my trip to the Galapagos. I think it would have encouraged to spend more time really looking at the local plants and animals.  Since the pandemic I have become more aware of nature in my neighborhood. I became interested in birdwatching. I have also submitted photos to Inaturalist to help me identify what I have seen. I have been hesitant to start a nature journal because I felt I wasn't a writer and certainly not an artist. I realize the only way I will gain more confidence is to practice writing and drawing.
    • Alison
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Learning to see more intently is my inspiration to begin nature journaling. Birding was my gateway drug to a broader appreciation of nature and the interconnectedness of everything. It has taken me a long time to get past my fear of the white page because "I'm not an artist." Keeping in mind that the purpose for me is not to make pretty pictures but to learn to see better, record details, and then research and learn more about the flora and fauna trims the ego and frees the brush. I'm startled by unexpected associations. The hue of a Red-Breasted Nuthatch spurred dreams of my red-haired brother.
    • Brian
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I have always been fascinated with the natural world. have been a birder for over 20 years now, it has taught me a lot not just about birds and the world we live, but a lot about myself. When i first saw examples of nature sketching and journaling, i was attracted to the peacefulness of the work. I soon realized that i could gain some life changing experiencing of learning how to do this for myself, i also intend on sharing this with my family, friends and co-workers who derive as much pleasure from the outside world as i do. i expect that this course will never really have an end, because i know that we will constantly learn from this wonderful activity, and the possibilities are endless.
    • Sujata
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I find spending time in nature to be a meditative experience. I have always loved the outdoors and birding has been a passion for years now. I wanted to find a way to capture my walks in nature and I'm glad that I found this course. I am blessed that i'm living close to the sea and mangroves that attract a variety of migratory birds in winter. Even though I have dismal drawing skills, I'm hoping to learn through this course and become consistent in recording the wonders of nature around me. I liked all the approaches in this video but I'm attracted to the technique of using small boxes for descriptions and details. I may try this as I start off and let it develop organically from there.
    • Betci
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1. Nature journaling seems like a logical step for me as a writer, birder & gardener. I have been hesitant because I can't really draw, but I'm encouraged by the suggestion that what I see has geometrical components to it. 2. I am drawn to the idea of carving out page space with boxes. I think it will be useful, at least in the beginning, because the best advice I heard was that observing over a time period -- say 2 hours -- I will see change & movement occur, potentially teaching me something or answering a question I have about my observations.  Time and patience sound like the entire process and that appeals to me as well, to be present. 3. My intention -- although I'm not sure it will happen -- is to incorporate memories. Observation lends itself to daydreaming & reminding. I'd like to document myself, my history as I document my natural view. Birding has already begun this process for me, but I've struggled with how to create the records of all the varied observations & feelings I experience as I'm hiking, looking for birds.
    • Wendy
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I have always enjoyed bird watching and drawing. Recently I took a water color class. I have found a wonderful sense of peace spending time outdoors observing nature and a sense of timelessness while drawing and painting. I hope that taking this course will help me develop a new habit!
    • mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Shaver's Creek, a Penn State environmental center, started offering Nature Journaling classes in January 2021. Since then, a once-a-month class has been held. I enjoy that each class offers a different topic to explore. The approach I've been using is perhaps most similar to the first example: a drawing with observations. I typically use: I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of... as my writing prompts. I have been using black pen, pencil, and colored pencils. I have not ventured into watercolor yet.
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I love being in nature whether it is in my own yard, or out on a hike.  Drawing facilitates really seeing.   I have no knack for drawing and would like to develop some skills and basic drawing techniques.  Drawing is so important to really seeing something and when I do draw I realize that I have a much greater  appreciation and connection to my subject. Watching so many people share their journals and seeing different approaches to journaling was not only helpful, but a lovely way to work into this process.  What came across in watching the film was the joy and enthusiasm each of the journalers has for drawing and journaling and sharing their journals. My father, a naturalist at heart, always carried a sketchpad with him.  In the last 25 years of his life filled over a hundred journals with his sketches, almost all of nature or travel.  It is delightful to look through these sketchbooks and see nature and the world through his eyes.  Creating my own nature journals feels like a way to connect with him. In starting out, I like the idea of dating each entry.  Boxes seem like a clear way to help organize.  I may need to play with doing multiple drawings to see what works and what doesn't.  I want to allow myself to let it come a bit organically and focus on process over product.  Lol.  I am somewhat intimidated by the beauty of the journals we saw.  I also hope to make sketching a habit.  I have a tendency to sketch on anything and then not have a consistent journal.  I am going to use a dedicated notebook for this class so that I will have it as my record.
    • Mara
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Across the different approaches to journaling and field sketching, the practice does two big things: 1) enhances learning and understanding (noticing greater detail, discovering through patient observation), and 2) deepens the experience (being in the moment, remembering multi-sensory details of your own experience). I found this really compelling and am excited to jump in!