Nature Journaling

Dawson Springs

A nature journal is your own unique response to nature.

What is nature journaling?

Notho sketch

Nature journaling is the practice of drawing or writing in response to observations of nature. This practice results in the creation of your own unique nature journal. Both the practice and the end product are important.

The practice slows you down, increases your mindfulness (or clears your mind), and increases your attention to detail and appreciation of beauty. It helps you to notice the details in nature, and improves your recognition of different species, and your understanding of where and how they live. With time, it also improves your ability to observe, to draw and to write. It allows you to spend time in nature just sitting or standing quietly, and being. When you are quiet and still, the animals become less scared, and sometimes forget you are there. Often you will get to observe animal behaviours that most people don’t get to see, because those people are too hasty, too noisy, or are distracted by something else.

In the product – the actual words and pictures of your nature journal – you end up creating something unique that is between you and the nature you responded to. No-one else will have a journal like yours. Ask 10 people to make a journal entry about the same flower and 10 different creations will result.

The entries in your journal will give you inspiration and material for other creative projects, such as writing, painting, textiles, music, other crafts… the opportunities are endless.

A journal allows you to capture the moment (a sunset, a view, a critter, a flower, a fungus…), and recall observations which would otherwise be forgotten. It doesn’t matter how simple your drawing or words might be. And it’s not just what’s recorded on the page: there is something about the act of writing it down, or making a sketch, that will help you to remember the scene.

A nature journal should never be an onerous chore, one that you feel under pressure to complete everyday, or that you feel needs to contain perfect pictures or writing. That’s not a journal, that’s a rod for your back. A journal should be a playful, helpful, adventurous, extension of yourself. A sandpit for exploring your responses to the world. Something a bit frowsy, a bit lop-sided, a bit ramshackle at times. But at other times it will resonate with a rare quality. It might be beauty, it might be insight, it might be as simple as two lines that perfectly capture the bird you glimpsed flying by. But you will catch you breath, and be quietly amazed at what you’ve created. A sentence or story or picture that will be yours: your unique response to the world.

Mt Maroon

Sketching the plants during a walk to the top of Mt Maroon allowed me to identify them and add the species names later. I never finished adding colour to this page… which doesn’t matter, since nature journals are not meant to be perfect!

Make a Date with Nature: an introduction to nature journaling

I’d like to encourage as many nature-lovers as possible to have a go at nature journaling. So I’ve created a little 29 page booklet called Make a Date with Nature: an introduction to nature journaling.

Reactions to ‘Make a Date with Nature: An introduction to nature journaling’:

“Thanks for your generous sharing of your work! This booklet is fantastic, and I can’t wait to try some of the prompts. (I also just gave it a shout-out on my blog) Cheers, Thea.”

“Really enjoyed the book, both inspiring and motivating.” Sharon.

“Very inspiring, with practical suggestions, and I love your illustrations.” Saren

“The working party of the Barwon Estuary Project (Barwon Heads Victoria) are very impressed with your book ‘Make a Date with Nature’, and, with your permission, would like to quote from it in the introduction to the Nature Watching Diary we are currently developing for our local communities.” Margaret.

You can purchase a print copy from my shop or download the free ebook by clicking this link.

Take this Book for a Walk – A step-by-step guide to nature journaling

Take this Book for a Walk is an interactive nature journaling book, written in a friendly, simple style for kids and adults. It includes 33 nature journaling activities and many samples of my own nature journals for encouragement and inspiration. Printed on high-quality ‘colouring book’ paper, Take this Book for a Walk is designed for you to draw and write directly into the book to create your own unique nature journal.

Take this Book for a Walk and discover your own personal response to nature.
The journey begins with nature, a pencil, a page and you. But so many treasures await!

Slow down and observe nature, and feel yourself becoming calmer and more connected to place.
Think analytically to explore how nature works, and fire up your curiosity to learn more.
Use your imagination to view the world from a bug’s perspective, to dream up stories, and to reflect on your own memories.
Explore your creativity by using colours, shapes and lines to respond to what you see and hear.

A nature journal is your conversation with nature. Enjoy!

Released in May 2020, created and printed in Australia on recycled paper. Order your copy now from the Paperbark Writer shop.

My approach to teaching nature journaling

After nearly 8 years of teaching nature journaling, I’ve summed up my approach in this blog post, published in March 2024:

Why 15-second owls are wonderful, and 12 important elements for teaching nature journaling

Nature journaling workshops

Check out the Events page for details of my upcoming workshops and other events.

Thank you to these groups and organisations for engaging me to run nature journaling workshops between 2016 and 2023:

Environmental groups:  Bulimba Creek Catchment Committee; Paten Park Native Nursery; HOPE Toowoomba; Cubberla-Witton Catchment Group; Lamington Natural History Association; Barung Landcare; Beechmont Landcare; The Armidale Tree Group; Whian Whian Landcare; Bob Brown Foundation; Land For Wildlife South East Queensland; Keep Sandgate Beautiful Association; Lockyer Community Action Group; Friends of Nerang National Park; Native Plants Queensland (Gold Coast Branch); Horsham Urban Landcare; Environment Northern Territory; Healthy Land and Water (South East Queensland); Tasmanian Land Conservancy; Tamar Natural Resource Management Group.

Galleries: Gympie Regional Gallery; Caloundra Regional Gallery, Dogwood Crossing, Miles.

Gardens: Friends of the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens; Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens; Beechmont Community Garden; Myall Park Botanic Gardens.

Education sector: University of the Sunshine Coast; Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres (Qld); Barambah Environmental Education Centre; Columboola Environmental Education Centre; Googa Environmental Education Centre; Yarrabilba State School; Somers School Camp; Churchie Anglican Church Grammar School; Tasmanian Art Teachers Association.

Local government: Brisbane City Council; Redlands Indigiscapes Centre; Logan City Council; City of the Gold Coast; Yarra Ranges Council.

State government: Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife.

Other groups and businesses: U3A Drawing group, Cleveland; Brisbane Bushwalkers; Ecological Society of Australia; Australian Association for Bush and Adventure Therapy; International Parktours; O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.

Events: Woodford Folk Festival; The Planting, Woodfordia; Botanica, Brisbane; Bushtime, Woodfordia; Five Senses Festival, Mount Tamborine.

What people have said after previous Nature Journaling workshops:

“Such an inspiring workshop! Fabulous stuff Paula. People are going to be getting hooked on it!” Genevieve – Bulimba Creek Catchments Coordinating Committee workshop, July 2016.

“Paula Peeters thanks for a great day on a beautiful property in the Mary Valley. Your knowledge is amazing. I’m looking forward to more nature journaling .” Bron – Gympie Regional Gallery workshop, August 2016.

“I am enjoying this so much, thank you so much for inspiring me to take the time out in a way that is so easy, anywhere we go. Really Loving it. Thank you again.” Angela – Downfall Creek Bushland Centre workshop, October 2016.

“Thanks to Paula Peeters for a very inspiring day in the bush.” Emma – Binna Burra workshop, November 2016.

“Thanks for your wonderful participation in our Arts Camp Paula. You’re such a drawcard for us. The feedback re your activities was A1.” Val – Brisbane Bushwalkers 2019

Contour drawing trees during a nature journaling workshop.

walk to Coomera Falls

Creating a map is another way to record a journey in a nature journal.

Rainforest at Iluka

Sometimes the most satisfying pictures are those drawn from memory. This impression of the rainforest at Iluka was begun one evening after a walk in the forest, and finished many weeks later, back home in Brisbane.

Previous posts about Nature Journaling

Nature journaling in the rainforest

Nature journaling on the Great Barrier Reef

How to draw a grassland – Part One

Nature journaling in the Noosa Botanic Gardens

An underwater nature journaling adventure

Binna Burra in the springtime

Happily evaporating in the mangroves

Playing with watercolour pencils

Drawing birds in Adelaide

Nature journaling for gardeners

Red Centre Adventures

A plant a day

Meet the rainforest neighbours

Springtime in the forest

Hunter Valley happenings

Rose-crowned fruit-dove

Topknots at Tullawallal

A bird lesson, a velvet worm and a furry friend in the shed

Lions, tigers and bears – oh my!

Winter wanderings

Ideas sheet for nature journaling

Get in contact

Please email me ( ) if you’d like to arrange a Nature Journaling session for your organisation or group. I’m always happy to discuss ideas and options.