The Importance of Keeping a Nature Journal

On its own this particular journal page is not that significant. It’s a recording of my encounter with a cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) in my front yard. But when you look closer, taking the time to create this page not only caused me to ask questions, but it forced me to look closer to details enabling me to record a moment in time.

One day, this record in time could be important.

Do you remember going outside in the summertime as a child and encountering hundreds of bees? I do. Do you remember insects galore? Yep. Well in our lifetime, for multiple reasons, we may be witnessing a decline in species. Some scientists think we are in the beginning of mass extinctions simultaneously. In just my own recollection, I do see a change in nature.

Keeping a nature journal is my way of documenting my interactions with nature. I can look back through the years and remember. On this day, the cedar waxing caused me to recognize its call: Zeet, Zeet, Zeet! I’ve heard that sound before outside my bedroom window and did not know what it was. Now I do!! So writing in this journal taught me its call. Not only did I learn its call, but I noticed it was alone. I thought they traveled in groups. My question excelled me to do some research. Evidently, it’s only winter time (in my area) that they travel in groups possibly for protection and knowledge of food resources. I learned something new!

Keeping a Nature Journal:

  • Forces you to see details
  • Caused you to learn new things
  • Documents nature in time/space
  • Strengthens memory
  • Calms nerves
  • Causes you to experience the health benefits of being in a state of flow

Some people may be intimidated to start a nature journal. They think: But I don’t know how to draw!!!

No fear, nature friends!

Keeping a journal is not about beautiful, well drawn art. It’s supposed to be messy. It’s supposed to be done quickly as you encounter nature. And it could be for your eyes only if you wish. Nobody has to see your journal. Plus, who said you had to draw in it???

You can keep nature journals with only text. What do you write? Start with some stats: Date, time, weather conditions, temperature. Next, move on to your 5 senses. What do you see? What do you smell? Feel? Taste (it better be an edible and not toxic…ha ha ha)?

It’s easy to keep a nature journal. Don’t stress about the quality. Soon you will be filling books and fondly looking back at great memories. Plus, it’s a great feeling in the dead of winter, when it’s below zero, to read about your previous summer days.

Happy nature journaling!



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