I began “greening” my English classroom in 2006 after learning that my highly capable, advanced students, our future scientists, educators, and community leaders, were going straight home to spend hours video gaming (and this was before texting, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.). I saw the need for some counterbalance, and after reading Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, I became convinced that giving my students the opportunity to experience nature activities would be beneficial for developing their writing and critical thinking skills by drawing them out of their ocular-centric world in front of computer screens.
Flash forward fourteen years, and I’ve witnessed how “unplugged” and “mindful” nature journaling not only positively impacts my students’ writing and critical thinking skills, but also serves as a compelling stress reliever. I had an initially skeptical student make several trips to the beach to do his weekly nature journal. After a few weeks he remarked, “I’m going to do this for the rest of my life.”