Why Nature Journal?
“Experience without words is just experience. Words without experience are just words” —Thomas E. Smith, author and founder of the Raccoon Institute
Have you ever escaped your workspace to enjoy a walk? Or marveled at the bright flash of a bird, the intricacy of a patch of moss, or the mechanics of a bug? If yes, then you understand the virtues of time in nature. Spending time absorbed in the sights, sounds, and smells of the outside world can spark joy and reset a tired soul. These positive experiences can linger longer with us if we take the time to document them through writing and art in a nature journal. Experts praise nature journaling as a way to build a lasting creative connection with the environment. Artist and educator John Muir Laws states it simply, “Nature journaling will enrich your experiences and develop observation, curiosity, gratitude, reverence, memory, and the skills of a naturalist.”
In a world full of social distancing and screen time, let us encourage ourselves, our families, and our students to turn towards the inspiring natural world right outside our door. Begin your nature journaling experience here, or start with any of our journaling posts below.
Nature Journaling: Cicada Symphony
June 1, 2021
Cicadas are back! And they are back in a big way.
Nature Journaling: Proggin'
May 18, 2021
Shells, ceramic pieces, glass shards, and complete bottles are some of the treasures you may encounter proggin'.
Nature Journaling: Growing Calm
May 4, 2021
When little of the world could be controlled, gardening quickly became the answer for individuals worldwide and here in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Nature Journaling: Bay Built
April 20, 2021
Spring is the time of year on the Chesapeake when we bid farewell to the oystering skipjacks and welcome back the hardy deadrises and Bay-builts of crabbing season.
Nature Journaling: Return of the Fish Hawks
April 6, 2021
Ospreys are back! These familiar Bay birds, often referred to as fish hawks, are known for their hunting prowess while tracking down their snack of choice.
Nature Journaling: Winter Waterfowl
March 16, 2021
Ducks, geese, and swans fly from the frigid north to Bay waters for the winter, bringing vibrant colors and fascinating behavior in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Summer Sense of Wonder
June 9, 2020
Over the summer, amazing natural changes will occur in your own backyard. Changes you can observe, document, and ponder.
Looking for Love on the Bay
June 2, 2020
June is named for Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. Appropriately, June is when many living things look for love. All around you can see, hear, and even smell the various methods different species use to woo their mates.
The Process, Not the Product
May 26, 2020
Remember, the goal of nature journaling lies in the process of creating and not in the created product.
The Bounty of the Bay
May 19, 2020
Scientists agree that ecosystems with a greater biodiversity tend to be more stable. Each species strengthens the ecosystem by performing various jobs and services. Here are some ideas for experiencing the watershed’s grand biodiversity from home.
Creativity: An Unhurried Adventure
May 12, 2020
While the current worldwide pandemic can make us uncertain and anxious, taking time for reflection, especially self-reflection, can help us stay grounded and give us a foundation for creativity.
The Color Rush of May
May 5, 2020
The rapid changes May brings offer great inspiration for observing, questioning, and nature journaling.
Surrounded by Trees: Seeds, Shade, Beams, and Books
April 28, 2020
Educator Ronnie Anderson reflects on the wonder and importance of trees. This spring, if you can’t plant a tree, at least try to nourish the ones that already exist. Take some time to examine your life and find where it intersects and intertwines with that of a tree.
A Celebration of Earth
April 21, 2020
This week we mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Early environmental activists created Earth Day to harness the energy of their growing movement and inspire Americans to protect our planet. Cindy Duncan, a veteran CBF educator who was six years old at the time, shares her recollections.
Nature on the Mind
April 14, 2020
According to mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is “the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” To experience the benefits of mindfulness in nature you simply need to go outside, breathe deeply, and consciously recognize the world around you. Take in the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of nature. Simply exist—and notice.
Tune in to April
April 7, 2020
April is when our world reawakens from its winter slumber. The Romans named the month after their word meaning “to open or blossom.” April is the first full month of spring, a time of rapid rebirth and growth, when the days grow longer and the nights get shorter.
Becoming a Naturalist
March 31, 2020
Nature is everywhere you are. Finding it is easy, especially if you are curious about clouds, trees, weather, stars, rocks, birds, ants, or anything else outside. True magic lies in your curiosity about these everyday things.
Why Nature Journal?
March 25, 2020
Nature journaling is a way to creatively connect and build a deep, lasting relationship with the natural world.