Learn about nature journaling, how to get started and ways to connect with our Sussex County NJ Nature Journaling club!
What is nature journaling?
Nature journaling is the practice of drawing or writing in response to nature. A journal should be a playful, helpful, adventurous, and extension of yourself. It is a place to grow your thoughts, feelings, ideas, activities, observations, and relationship with the natural world.
Why should you nature journal?
First and foremost, nature journaling deepens thinking an observational skills as you’re taking what you see and turning it into numbers, words and pictures in order to record these observations.
Nature journaling offers a way to stay present by slowing down, being mindful and focusing on your surroundings
Nature journaling is a way to bring the community together as they spend time outdoors a group
Nature journaling helps you to connect with nature and
Nature journaling helps you to think critically and creatively, and by regularly drawing, sketching and analyzing observations through your sketchbook you will continue to improve your skills
What supplies do I need to nature journal?
The bare minimum supplies to nature journal:
and a pen!
Additional optional supplies to journal:
Travel watercolor set
Additional optional supplies to observe:
Camera (use your smartphone!)
What should I record in my nature journal?
If this is your first time, begin recording:
Weather and anything else that stands out to you in regards to those topics
Next, start to observe your surroundings. Start walking or scanning the area until something catches your eye. It could be a plant, animal, rock, leaf, cloud and land formations.. anything! There are endless possibilities when observing from life! As you find a point of interest, start to think to yourself:
What is it?
Why is it standing out to you?
What is happening in its surroundings?
What drew you to it?
Start to incorporate the prompts below as you journal about it:
It reminds me of
From there, start to sketch and make notations to later investigate deeper.
Use numbers to describe what you see, such as how many of something or how many times an animal moved a certain way.
Draw photos and diagrams of what you see
Use your words to describe what you see, hear and feel
Combining these things will give you a deeper connection to what you are recording. Add poems, notations and anything else that you feel like putting to paper. These are your thoughts and ideas, and you only have to share them with the world if you want to. Don't be held back by worrying that someone could judge your spelling, poems, writing or artwork. Nature journaling is for you!
What if I'm not a naturalist or I don't consider myself an artist? What if I'm not sure what I am observing or what types of plants & insects these are in which I'm seeing?
No worries! That is the best part about nature journaling, its for everyone! You don't need to be an expert in ANY field to nature journal. You only need to have the desire to observe and learn more about your natural surroundings. There are a few things to do or add to your journal when you aren't sure what you are looking at:
Record your observations and then take a few reference photos with your phone
Write down questions that you have about what you are seeing so that you can look it up later on.
Make a notation to do some research when you get home
Converse with other nature journalers if you are on a club outing as they may be able to give additional tips or even identify what you are looking at.
And remember - "Everyone began as a beginner" This should be a fun and mindful experience, don't stress what you don't know just yet. Additional skills and knowledge will come with time and keeping a nature journal can help with that, as you will have notes and records to look back on. Enjoy the process!
Where can I find out more information on joining your Nature Journaling Club?
Through the following links! Our club is free to join and is organized and funded through the Nicole Christian - Fine Art & Illustration Studio. The Sussex County NJ - Nature Journaling Club aims to connect more people to art & nature through outings and teachings. We have outings around Sussex County, NJ and try to meet at least once a month to journal and observe. The club is open to all ages and skill levels and no prior journaling experience is needed! We are working to have a separate email list for notifications but at this time the Facebook Group is the best way to stay up to date on outings. You can also contact the art studio
And if you are a local group, organization or have your own nature journal club in a different county that is interested in connecting or to setup a workshop or program - please reach out! The club would love to connect! Please contact Nicole here