What is nature journaling?
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.
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. It’s free to download, or you can buy a print copy for $7.99 and have it delivered free within Australia. Workshop attendees also receive a free print copy. So download your free copy of ‘Make a Date with Nature’ or purchase a print copy here.
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.
Nature journaling workshops
In 2016 I will be leading some nature journaling workshops in natural areas around south east Queensland. Check out the Events page for details and how to book.
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.
‘Nature Journaling Australia’ Facebook group
If you’d like to share your nature journaling adventures with others, join the Nature Journaling Australia facebook group. Post your pictures and writing, and be inspired by the observations and creations of other nature journalists (I guess that’s the correct term?!).
Get in contact
Please contact 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.