a Nature Journal
a Whole New Way
of Seeing the World Around You
Walker Leslie and
Charles E. Roth
diary, which is primarily an introspective
account of personal history, the nature journal is an outwardly
record of natural history. Observations and perceptions of nature and
emotional responses they inspire in the human observer/participant are
its metier. Some nature journals are filled with bird lists and weather
charts; others include sketches, drawings or watercolor paintings.
photographs, newspaper clippings, musical notations and stories are as
appropriate to the genre as scientific record-keeping, mapping and
The key element is the focus -- looking outward into the world.
Guided Journal for Illustrating
and Recording Your Observations of the Natural World
by example, this large and profusely
illustrated guidebook provides "journaling" techniques to encourage
observation and recording-keeping in many forms. Educational in its
and content, it's an exceptionally good tool for teachers and students
of many fields, from botany and biology to creative writing and
The final chapters of the book are dedicated to teaching situations and
there's even a suggested scale for assessing nature journaling skills.
right hands, almost any notebook or blank book will perform as a nature
journal. But for those intimidated by empty pages, this "guided
can help jump-start their journaling with inspirational quotes,
tips and suggestions.
work has focused mostly on training
teachers and youth leaders in natural history and helping foster basic
environmental literacy among our citizens," write Charles Roth, who
the text with Clare Walker Leslie. "Clare has stimulated hundreds of
to begin keeping nature journals; we have even taught some nature
workshops jointly in the past. As a journalist I tend to be more writer
than artist; for Clare, it's just the reverse."
Leslie's wonderful nature sketches and artwork
steal attention away
from the textual elements in thise guide, and it's difficult to imagine
any reader not being tempted to try at least a few of the drawing
The second edition (2003) includes a 32-page color portfolio of
work that almost any nature journalist will want to emulate. Beside the
drawings and the excerpts, often inserted as sidebars, are tips on
up a nature study, keeping naturalist records, conducting biological
or identifying plants and wildlife.