*Joey will be a guest here on the blog as he documents our Nature Challenge journey for 2016.
The Challenge: Select your favorite nature spot in the Coastal Bend and create an activity that can be done by other teams in the area.
Joey: I attended a Nature Journaling Class with Ms. Nicki Sohn at the Oso Preserve and I am going to tell you everything I learned. Then you’ll be able to go in your own backyard and make your very own nature journal.
First you are going to need a journal. It could be a blank book, a sketch book, a scrapbook, a notebook. Basically you need something filled with blank paper. I received a fancy bamboo journal at the class but I also have other nature journals. Some are blank notebooks and some are sketch books.
You’ll also need a pencil or a pen (I recommend a pencil because you can erase if you need to), some crayons or colored pencils, an eraser, a pencil sharpener and a bag to carry it all in. You might need to bring some water with you if you’re going out far from your house. If you’re really far and you’re hungry, bring a snack bag with you.
One kind of journaling you can do in nature is looking for evidence. You pick a spot. A place with trees is a good place to choose, but you really can choose any nature spot. Then you sit very quietly and look for animals. Then find out why they are there in that spot. You could also look for animal tracks and scat and journal about who you think has been there and why. You could also look for an interaction between animals. Whatever evidence you look for, record what you find and show it to your parents. Make sure you explain, in your journal, what you think the evidence means.
Another kind of nature journaling that is fun is called Stop and Jot. You find a place and set a time limit. Then you walk around it and every few seconds you jot down anything you hear, see, or smell in nature. When you are done observing then you can draw a map of what you observed. Include any plants or tracks that you might have seen! Later you can write about your observations. It could be a narrative or a story. I like to pretend I’m an animal in that habitat and I use my observations to make a story or a narration.
Another kind of journaling I like to do is where I read about and observe a plant and then I use pictures (if the real thing isn’t available) and I draw it and write down some fun facts about it. I like to do this when I study herbs. I also include a “Time to Be a Scientist” sidebar where I describe ways you can use the herb for medicine.
When we do nature study during our school day, I take my journal and go outside wherever we are and a choose a spot. I sit there for ten minutes and I draw whatever I see in my area. Then I label it, if I can. I don’t write much about it when I do this type of journaling, but you could if you wanted to. It’s really more about drawing though.
It is fun to get out in nature and to write and draw about what I see. You should get your own nature journal and get started! I hope you will come back here and share with me some pictures of your journals.