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Spark your Bird Love with Nature Journaling

Spark your Bird Love with Nature Journaling

Want to learn how to be a better birder? Curious about the birds at your feeder or singing in your yard? Spark your bird love with this nature journaling course.

Micro world of Mosses

Micro world of Mosses

This week, one of our members, Victoria Grape will be sharing her passion for mosses. These diminutive organisms live in an entire universe unseen by most of us. Victoria will take us into the micro forest so we can get to know the incredible diversity, beauty, and magic of mosses.

About our guest:

Victoria Grape has a background in ecology and ethnobotany. Some years ago she worked in Cambodia on ethnobotanical knowledge and land-use rights as linked to women’s health sovereignty. This work was followed by carbon flux modeling in Panama (essentially how soil and tree communities “breathe” and how climate change affects that flux). Most recently her work has been on plant community relationships in response to changing climate and land-use practices in the alpine and coastal areas of Norway.

After completing her studies, Victoria began teaching a couple of nature journaling classes, doing some illustration jobs and a bit of hired fieldwork in Norway, and finally landed in France where her family is restoring a small working farm to provide nature-friendly fruit, nuts, and cut flowers to the local community. 

“It’s in Norway that I fell in love with mosses and got the chance to study their personalities and characteristics very closely. Time and time again I am mesmerized by their beauty, ingenuity, and humble 350 million year history! 

What really lights me up: The still moments…even in the midst of a strong storm. Awe descends on you when you are truly there in the present moment, open and listening. The vibrancy of nature speaks directly to you.” 

Join us each week Live on Sundays at 9:30 am Pacific. See the calendar for topic and link.

Reflections: Gifts of 2020

Reflections: Gifts of 2020

Stop and revisit As we move through the final days of 2020, I looked through my journal to reflect on the year. Like many of you, I spent so much more time at home than I ever have, and journaled every day. With entries tracking…

Spark your Curiosity: Nature Journaling online course

Spark your Curiosity: Nature Journaling online course

Spark your Curiosity-Level 1 Do You: Enjoy nature but don’t know what you’re seeing? Want to be more confident in drawing nature? Want to start a nature journal but don’t know how? Join the Intro to Nature Journaling course– Here’s what we’ll explore in this…

Skyward Salutations: Clouds (Video)

Skyward Salutations: Clouds (Video)

Autumn seems to have the most amazing skies. We’ll look upwards for inspiration today!

We always have access to the sky even if we cannot get to a special place in nature. The sky is different every day and changes hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute, so there is always something to observe.

Let’s dive into learning about clouds, how to identify some basic types, characteristics, and how to nature journal them. By observing clouds in the sky, we sharpen our nature awareness, improve the ability to discern patterns, develop knowledge of how to read the sky for the weather, as well as enjoying the stress-relieving benefits of cloud watching!

Grab your nature journal and favorite writing tools and let’s dive into journaling the sky!

A cloud study page. After I piqued my curiosity about clouds and ready to learn more about them, I went to a field guide. I illustrated what I learned, so that I can remember it better.

MB Nature Journal Club Sharing Page

MB Nature Journal Club Sharing Page

Sharing your pages is the BEST way to build your skills, be inspired with new strategies and ideas, and spark motivation and excitement to keep you journaling nature! We share our pages as an exchange of information rather than to be critiqued. We give and…

Journaling with Nature Podcast Interview

Journaling with Nature Podcast Interview

I had the pleasure and honor to be interviewed by Bethan Burton, host of the podcast, Journaling with Nature. Bethan is an artist, nature journal educator, and founder of International Nature Journaling Week. Recently, she and I sat down virtually for a conversation about nature…

Gratitude for my sensory scrapbook

Gratitude for my sensory scrapbook

Today I woke up to see a layer of frost on our wooden deck. The grass and the alpacas in the pasture both have a dusting of frost like powered sugar. It makes me smile.

Photo: Maksim Zhao, Unsplash.com

The air was so cold and crisp on my face and hands when I went outside. I hear “crunch, crunch, crunch” as I flatten the frost crystals with each footstep.

I feel the warmth of the sun on my left side, and a cool breeze on my right. The sounds of birds filling the air- golden-crowned sparrows, right now.

I am grateful for the clear blue sky lit up by the sun that is yet to rise above the horizon. The birds are on a nearby tree, waiting for me to fill the birdseed buffet so they can feast on the millet and sunflower seeds.

Photo: John Duncan, Unsplash.com

I am filled with joy that I can be here to experience this moment with all my senses. I grab my nature journal and begin to document what I am experiencing- sights, sounds, smells, thoughts, wonderings, and gratitude.

My first page for the day.

My nature journal is like a sensory scrapbook.

When I record what I notice and wonder, using both words AND sketches, it imprints this experience in my mind. And each time I revisit this page, it brings me right back to this moment- a sensory flashback full of all the smells, sounds, sights, feelings I recorded.

Yes, I could just take a photo. And yes, I could just journal some words instead. But it doesn’t have the same power, the MAGIC that occurs in a nature journal page.

Have you started nature journaling? Whether or not you have, go out today with a notebook and pencil with the intention of seeing what is around you.

Simple steps to take today

First, step outside and take in a few breaths of oxygen that the plants are gifting to us. And return the favor with exhaling to provide them with the gasses they need. Take three long slow breaths to slow down to match nature’s pace.

Let this be a reminder that we are in a relationship with plants–our interdependence with nature.

Heart stone. Photo Melinda Nakagawa

2. Take a few moments to scan the landscape around you. Are there trees? Do they have leaves or bare branches? Are there shrubs? Are they near or far? What colors do you notice? Do you notice any smells?

3. Now, look skyward. What do you see? Colors, clouds, shapes, textures, movement? Are there any soaring birds? The tops of tall trees?

Photo: Melinda Nakagawa

4. Look down by your feet at the earth. What slithery, crawling, or scuttling creatures do you see? Lift up the lower leaves of a plant and peer under the skirt to see who’s there. Is there evidence of animals? Is the ground moist or dry?

5. Are there birds flitting, or hopping? Chirping or singing? What else is here around you?

6. Now, put the pencil to the page, and write today’s date, time, and location. Write down what you found today in nature. It can be a list of words, or bullet points, phrases, or sentences.

7. Make sketches (does not have to be finished pictures- in fact, it’s better to keep it simple so you can get to recording words). These sketches will help you remember the things you saw– it’s here to jog your memory–not replace it.

8. Perhaps add what you brings you joy, or what you’re grateful for.

9. When you think you are done, add 3 more things that you notice or wonder.

And you did it! Whatever you got on the page is progress. It’s perfect for today. Let’s remember that it’s about PROGRESS rather than PERFECTION!

Benefits

Time in nature can be the counterbalance to the stress we feel in our lives, and nature journaling helps us focus our attention. Whatever we focus our attention on grows, so why not choose to be attentive to nature and what brings us joy?

Not only is it a break from technology-overload and worries of the world, but it also has the effect of replenishing you, elevating your mood, and increasing your efficiency and creativity!

Photo: Dave Hoefler Unsplash.com

Nature Journaling at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary (Video)

Nature Journaling at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary (Video)

Monterey Bay Nature Journal Club (MBNJC) took a virtual nature journaling trip to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, in Northampton and Southampton, Massachusetts. MBNJC member and Arcadia Art House Director Jan Ruby-Crystal guided us through the woodlands, meadows, grasslands, and wetlands. We sketched through the stations along…

Simple and freeing 1-minute sketches

Simple and freeing 1-minute sketches

In nature journaling, there are a multitude of tools, strategies, and prompts to record our observations in our nature journal. They also help us to see more deeply, stimulate curiosity, and wonder. Sometimes they can work to free your inner creative from the hold of…