Mrs. Aitch's File Cabinet of Ideas for Nature Study Lessons

Journal Ideas

Black-line drawings!
Here are some ideas to help you get started with making your very own Nature Journal and the types of things you can include in your work. 
Something we ALL live with is "weather."  

Eric Sloane was an artist and naturalist who created many nature-study books.  He liked weather stuff so much that he named his farm "Weather Hill."  

This one is all about weather and shows lots of "black-line" drawings.   That means his drawings are all done with a black pen (or pencil).   You can do this, too!  Just start with a pencil sketch done very, very lightly.  Then go over it with an ARCHIVE quality black pen.  

Enero = January
Here is another kind of Nature Journal.   >>>

Edith Holden loved nature and spent time very day out in the areas around her home in England.   She lived in the early part of the 20th century, and used a fountain pen to write her journal entries.  She also illustrated many books, so she was able to make very beautiful journal drawings & paintings, too. 

You can make similar drawings if you're patient!   Or you can take a picture of birds you see during a nature walk--or at your backyard feeders.  Then sketch the picture as best you can.   Don't be too worried about being perfect!   Use colored pencils to give your drawings a bit of color.   You can mix colors, too, to achieve new shades.  
Notice how Ms. Holden labeled the grasses and the birds with the Latin names.

Famous nature journal

Here is an example of a Nature JOURNAL.   >>>>

Aldo Leopold liked living in the country and wrote all about it.  He did a few drawings, but mostly he wrote about the animals and plants in his home-area.   Because he felt strongly that people should take care of their surroundings, his writing brought "conservation" into the news at a time when most people didn't think about that.    

A great place to visit in California!

<<< Another way to make your Nature Journal interesting is to include maps of areas you visit.    

Here's a map of  a very interesting place that came about because one man, John Muir (pronounced "Muh-yore"), felt that natural areas in the United States needed to be preserved in their natural state so that future generations (me and you!) would be able to enjoy them in their original glory.

John Muir raised awareness and helped more people learn to enjoy the wilderness.   One special area he helped to protect is Yosemite National Park in California, not far from San Francisco--in the mountains.

Here are two nature journals using photos to illustrate.
Donna Long, a regular person, made this journal.

Notice that this naturalist puts the dates off to the side and uses an indentation to set off her journaling.   You can do this too, so that you leave room (just in case) you want to add something about the weather. >>>>

Three-ring binder

<<< This journal (from the same-above website) shows how to use a three-ring binder and regular lined paper for your nature journal.

Pressed leaves & flowers in a spiral journal

Donna Long also made this journal, using pressed leaves and flowers which she carefully glued to the pages of her sketchbook.  Notice how carefully she labeled each specimen, too.   

You can save specimens like this, and put them on white paper which you insert into a page protector, and then in your three-ring binder.    Be careful, these are VERY fragile!

<<< Here are some Nature Journals made by kids just like YOU!    Sketchs, colored pencils, black line pens, and some writing.   You can do it, too!!!

>>> Look at how specific this sketch is, and the use of brown colored pencil along with a black-line pen.   Plus a bit of poetry, musing, and just a bit of nature stuff.    It's interesting to the person who wrote it!  

A "study" of bird behavior

<<<  Here's something interesting too, and not a ton of details, but you get the idea from the author's work.   Nice "study" of birds (they're called "yellow rumps" I guess).  

Leaf rubbing - how interesting!

>>> This journal page shows what it looks like when you make a leaf rubbing.  You can see the very fine detail of the veins and the stem as well as the edges of the leaf.   The pencil drawing on the left is interesting too! >>>>>

I hope you get the idea --  
Nature Journaling is up to you!

Nature Hike

Take a walk outside your own home. Look around at all the signs of Spring in your own backyard! What do you smell? What do you see? What do you hear? Fresh earth, budding plants and trees, birds chirping? How does the wind feel against your cheek?

Keep your nature journal handy....summer is a busy time in the natural world! Jot the occasion, date, time, weather, and anything unusual. Make a simple sketch to help you remember. Doesn't have to look like da Vinci! Just your sketch.

Take note of a special tree in your yard. Keep track of it during each season. Sketch one or two branches right now. Take note of the buds or twigs. Date the sketch, add the time of day, something about the weather. Yeah! That wasn't so hard!!