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.
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 here:
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.
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 2019:
Environmental groups: Bulimba Creek Catchment Committee; Paten Park Native Nursery; HOPE Toowoomba; Cubberla-Witton Catchment Group; Lamington Natural History Association; Barung Landcare.
Galleries: Gympie Regional Gallery; Caloundra Regional Gallery.
Gardens: Friends of the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens; Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens; Beechmont Community Garden.
Education sector: University of the Sunshine Coast; Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres (Qld); Barambah Environmental Education Centre.
Local government: Downfall Creek Bushland Environment Centre; Indigiscapes Centre; Logan City Council; City of the Gold Coast.
State government: Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife.
Other groups: U3A Drawing group, Cleveland; Brisbane Bushwalkers; Ecological Society of Australia; Australian Association for Bush and Adventure Therapy.
Events: Woodford Folk Festival; The Planting; Botanica.
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
Woonoongoora Nature Journal Group
Join like-minded people for free nature journaling sessions at Binna Burra, Lamington National Park, once a month – read more here.
‘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?!).
Previous posts about Nature Journaling
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.