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

Nature Notebook, II

What to include in your nature journal?    Just about anything!   Here are a few ideas . .
  • drawings made while out in the field, or from pictures you take in the field
  • observations of nature items (birds, trees, flowers, plants, sky, pond, etc)
  • narrations of an event from a nature walk
  • wildlife seen during a nature walk
  • drawings made to illustrate an observation - this is better than an written explanation!
  • poems, verse or hymns to illustrate with nature observations
  • pressings or rubbings of leaves, bark, flowers
  • peculiar habits or structures you notice while in the field
A nature journal from the American Museum of Natural History

IMPORTANT:   When writing in your journal, do your best to spell words correctly, but don't get hung up on spelling.   What's important is getting the moment recorded (in drawing or word)!    Perfection is NOT a requirement for a nature journal--do your best!   

What should you use to make illustrations or observations?
  • mechanical or regular pencil (mechanical never gets dull!); use some string & tape to keep it with the journal--never gets lost!!!
  • black fine-line marker pen (not too expensive--if you're forgetful and can't keep track of it!)
  • crayons for coloring
  • colored pencils for shading
  • watercolor paints (and a brush) for illustrating
Ernest Thompson Seton's Journal

What happens if you can't draw very well?
  • Do your best to draw what you see.   If it doesn't look perfect to others, don't worry--you're drawing for YOU to remember what you do your best.   Label your drawings, add the date and the time and anything important about the weather that might affect the situation.

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!!