Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Linking Writing, Reading, Science and Art with Nature Journaling

Early this spring, I purchased two inspiring books by Clare Walker Leslie.

The subject?  Nature Journaling.

  Keeping a Nature Journal:  Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You and Drawn to Nature:  Through the Journals of Clare Walker Leslie, have inspired me as an artist, a writer, a reader, a scientist, an observer and in just learning to be present and curious soul.

I vowed to begin my own Nature Journal Journey this summer in order to experience first hand how the melding of science and literacy takes place. I am one who has to have the experience before I can teach or model it for someone else as walking the walk always gives you more credibility, especially as a teacher.

Keeping a nature journal did more than jump start my "scientist" self.  I did more than write and draw.    And. . . more happened than observing!

The greatest reward in keeping my own nature journal was how it taught me to S --- L --- O --- W ------------ D --- O --- W --- N.

In our fast paced, ridiculously busy lives, who takes time to stop and notice the frost hanging from the wild grasses? Who sees that some anthills are like small little tents and others are like condos?  Who can observe that yellow leaves are on the ground and it's only July?

If you are keeping a nature journal, you are one that is aware of these nature miracles. Because you have to stop, observe, be amazed, observe some more, be curious, ask questions,  then get it down.  Before it's gone.  And, it will be.  And, hopefully, the wonders that arise while getting it down nudge you to do some research to find answers.  And, the learning begins.

Another joy happened as I became more aware of the natural world and spent some time noticing, recording, drawing and thinking.  Probably even bigger than slowing down.

I became more present with this planet I live on.  A calmness and peace began to grow in me.  Anxieties and stresses were squelched because I slowed down my mind, body and soul enough to be present for a moment.

Wow.  I'm a forever nature journaler now.  For life.  Yup.  A lifer.

Here are a few of my journalings this summer.

Clare Walker has given me a new window to look out.  She gave me the motivation and inspiration and also helped me get started.  In her Keeping a Nature Journal book, she gave me specific steps to follow to help me create that very first page.  This is huge for anyone who has that daunting fear, "What do I put in here????" She gives formats to start you out. She tells you specifically what to go observe, like cloud patterns and ground observations. Beginners need specifics and guidelines sometimes to feel safe and build confidence.  

Then, she teaches you how to make it your own.

I love how she thinks.  

Shari :-)


  1. This sounds wonderful. I'd like to try it. Have you read the book The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating? I know, sounds weird but it's a really sweet book - and kind of a nature journal.

    1. No, I have not read this book before! I will have to check it out! :-)

  2. It's interesting that you found that journaling caused you to slow down. That's exactly what needs to be done in our educational system. We're trying to jam far too much at one time into our children, not giving them time to process. I think if we promoted more of this (art to learn) in our classrooms, students would retain much more. It's fact that our brain retains from writing (copying) over reading alone, or worksheets. It also promotes use of both sides of the brain.

    I love this site (actually love both). It makes me miss teaching.

    1. Thank you, Shelley for visiting my site! I agree with you about needing to slow down our education system. So much is expected of teachers for them to even feel like they CAN slow down.

      I'm not sure why the links are not working. I will check it out and thank you for letting me know! :-))

  3. Shari,

    I tried clicking on your side links: Books and Books & Authors, but none of the links work. You might check them.