Nature Journal Protocols for Secondary Students

Materials — What Will I Need?

The basic materials for nature journaling are simple: a notebook and a writing or drawing utensil:

Journals

There are so many options for purchasing journals from very inexpensive notebooks to elaborately designed field books, and your choice will mostly depend on your preferences as to where and how you will be doing your nature journaling. Some students prefer journals with blank pages, others like the dotted and lined pages. Some students like to collect flowers and leaves, so a field folder would be appropriate. The important element is to have a place to keep your journal responses all together as a record of your thinking and for reflection purposes.

Writing Utensils

Many of my students use simple blue or black ink pens; however some like to use colored pencils and watercolor markers, especially if they are sketching. Try to avoid using pencil as that tends to fade over time. Again, the choice depends on your preferences and how you plan to use your journal.

Journals

There are so many options for purchasing journals from very inexpensive notebooks to elaborately designed field books, and your choice will mostly depend on your preferences as to where and how you will be doing your nature journaling. Some students prefer journals with blank pages, others like the dotted and lined pages. Some students like to collect flowers and leaves, so a field folder would be appropriate. The important element is to have a place to keep your journal responses all together as a record of your thinking and for reflection purposes.

Writing Utensils

Many of my students use simple blue or black ink pens; however some like to use colored pencils and watercolor markers, especially if they are sketching. Try to avoid using pencil as that tends to fade over time. Again, the choice depends on your preferences and how you plan to use your journal.

Other Items To Consider Bringing Along:

Binoculars

Bring binoculars, especially if you are bird watching.

Cell Phone

Cell phones or cameras for taking pictures, only! NO texting or chatting while you are journaling.

Chair/Stool

Bring a folding chair or stool for sitting.

Small Bag

Bring  a small day pack bag to carry your materials as well as water and snacks.

Now What's Next?
The Perfect Spot
Find a spot outside where you and a friend or two can comfortably sit and observe the natural world around you. Indian River County has many beautiful beaches, parks, and trails! You may also simply sit out in your own yard. Many students enjoy sitting in their yards at night to nature journal. You may choose to go to the same place each week, but try to vary your times. For each journal entry, record the date and where you are.
Things To Avoid
Try to avoid journaling with large groups of friends. There are too many distractions.
Silent Like The Wind
Stay as quiet as possible so you can hear what’s happening around you. Loud noises scare away many birds and animals, so you’ll have a better chance to see them if you are not making loud noises.
Recording
Record your observations in your journal. You may write, sketch, collect leaves or flowers-- whatever works best for you! It’s best to use pen or colored pencil as regular pencil tends to fade over time.
Brain Power
Be mindful of all of your senses as you observe: what do you see, smell, hear, touch or perhaps even taste?
Think
Begin to question what you are observing: behaviors of birds, insects, and animals; conditions of ponds, plants, trails, ocean waves. Even if you don’t know the answer, it’s important to create a sense of wonder about the natural world.
Enjoy A Peaceful Day Recording The Outdoors!
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