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May Nature Journaling

Mondays in May are for Nature Journaling here on the blog!

There’s no one way to keep a Nature Journal. It can be mostly writing-based or mostly drawing, or a little bit of both. You can add to it daily or whenever you feel inspired. It can be intimidating as we feel the pressure to be “artists” and shy away from the practice, but the general idea is to use this journal and your entries as a means for deeper observation of the world around you, rather than as a space of perfectionist artistic achievement. It’s a space to ask questions, explore ideas, reflect back your senses, and record data from your observations in nature—a personal notebook for connecting to nature and building your recording skills, whether that be the writing part or the illustrative!

For this Monday’s Nature Journaling prompt, we want you to take your nature journal to a sit spot in nature, in your yard, or even at your window looking out. It could be a spot you go to often or it could be a fresh place you’ve never been before! Simply sit for 10-15 minutes, letting yourself relax into the environment around you, and equally it around you. Ask yourself, what do you see, hear, smell, and feel as you quietly sit. Make a note or picture reference of anything and everything you notice, even things like the weather or season. Read our blog about finding a Sit Spot to learn more!

Open a fresh page in your nature journal and draw one thing that you find at your spot. It could be a bird in the tree or a wildflower growing underfoot. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect! Don’t let that deter you, nor the need to draw an elaborate scene—just make a simple drawing, add a little shading if you want or a little color with some colored pencils. Don’t spend more than five minutes on your drawing.

In the margins around your drawing, write a little about what you’ve observed as well, small things you have noticed about this wild thing you’ve drawn that you discovered in that process or any details you don’t feel like you captured in the illustration. Also, write down three “wonders” or unanswered questions from your observations and then try to answer them yourself. Let yourself lean into playing the scientist!

For example:
Q: I wonder why this wildflower’s leaf is spotted?
A: Maybe it’s for camouflage to hide in the dappled sunlight on the forest floor.

Q: What’s the reason for it having such a strong distinct smell?
A. Perhaps it’s to attract a certain kind of animal or pollinator.

Try to do this whole exercise a few times over this next week to loosen up and get some content in your journal. Often our greatest intimidation to contributing to it is the blank pages! If you feel comfortable, share a photo of one of your entries on our Facebook or Instagram by tagging us or using #clctrust! Tune in next Monday for more Nature Journaling tips and activities!