Thursday, August 25, 2016

Keeping a Nature Journal

"A Nature Journal is a place to grow your thoughts, feelings, ideas, activities, observations, and relationship with the natural world. And, it is an opportunity to interpret your inner thoughts out into the natural world and a space where the natural world can flow into you and leave a permanent mark." (Sierra Club)

On Saturday, October 29, the Friends of Hagerman will host a Drawing and Nature Journaling Workshop led by watercolor artist Walt Davis. who says,

"This workshop will focus on seeing (which is more than simply looking at) and recording what is seen in words, drawings and diagrams. It will explore the rich tradition of nature journaling practiced by John Muir, George Bird Grinnell, Thomas Nuttall and Earnest Thompson Seaton. Drawing talent or skill are not required. We will explore the supplies needed, some key observational techniques, several methods for capturing simple images and will practice making records of actual encounters with nature. We will explore the Grinnell journaling technique used widely by professional naturalists as well as several other journaling formats. Weather permitting, our work will be done out of doors."

The Sierra Club site amplifies Davis' comment about John Muir - "We can learn a lot about keeping a Nature Journal from John Muir, the inspiration for, and the first president of the Sierra Club. Muir studied and cared about wilderness. He sought to preserve wild places and is considered one of the founders of the modern environmental movement. Muir wrote in his journals about the beauty he saw in nature. He also drew sketches detailing information about plants, animals, mountains, and landscapes. He used his journals to compose letters to friends, articles, and books to share his love of nature and to enlist people's support to preserve wilderness. Muir's journals gave him a wealth of recorded experience from which ten books and over two hundred articles were published. We continue to gain insight into Nature's beauty and importance in our lives from Muir's writings.

While few of us will have the impact of John Muir, we can enjoy the process of observing and recording. "Journals can include both personal expressions and objective observations. Objective information might include scientific experiments, weather, wildlife behavior, and seasonal changes. Keeping a nature journal can be a powerful experience because it helps the observers slow down, carefully take note of their surroundings, make first-hand, concrete observations of nature, and become better observers. Good science depends upon keen observations, and nature journaling is an effective way to develop that skill." (U. S. Fish & WildlifeService)

For your own journal, you might also choose a theme that captures your interest, bird nests, wildflowers,  or location such as backyard, for example.   The workshop at Hagerman NWR will meet from 10 am - 4 pm. Registration details, Mr. Davis' biography and the supply list for the event can be found on the Friends of Hagerman News Page. Participants may register online or by contacting the Refuge, 903 786 2826, and asking for a call back about the workshop.

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