Start a nature journal to accompany you on your outdoor explorations and keep track of all your nature observations
Studies show that learning about nature and connecting with the natural environment supports happiness and health, reduces stress, enhances concentration, and boosts learning for people of all ages. Learn more about all of the benefits of exploring and enjoying nature here.
A nature journal is a great way to practice research, writing, and artwork as you enjoy the natural environment. Take your journal along on a hike, walk, or bike ride. Plan to stop a few times along the way to record what you see. How do you feel? What inspires you?
Don't have a beautiful journal on hand? No worries. Notecards, loose-leaf paper, or construction paper on a clipboard work well for this activity. You can create your book or journal after you've gotten several pages.
Tips for nature journaling:
1. Observe your natural world.
Go on a slow walk through your backyard, garden, or neighborhood. Look for interesting colors, textures, animals, and plant life. Notice elements of nature you may not often pay attention to: the jagged edges of leaves or the patterns of a tree's bark.
2. Choose something to observe more closely.
Once you've had a good romp outside, choose something to investigate more closely. Get close, touch, and smell what you're observing. Use as many senses as possible.
3. Make art.
Draw your object in detail. Try to capture everything you've observed about the object. Not into drawing? Glue your item onto your paper.
4. Label your artwork.
What elements on your drawing can you label? Is it an insect with wings, legs, and eyes? What else can you write down about how the object looks, smells, or feels?
5. Additional Research.
Go online or dig into your books to learn more about the object you found. Can you find 5 additional facts to include with your drawing?
6. Repeat and repeat.
Can you fill an entire journal with your drawings and observations, facts, and artwork?
Take a photo of one of your nature journal entries and share it on social media. Make sure to tag @peancorg and #PEAYoungLeaders to be entered into the weekly Young Eco Leaders Raffle.
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