Found nature objects: Sand dollars

Found nature objects:

I have a collection of nature treasures that I keep on a nature table. Seedpods, stones, shells, leaves, etc.. When I can’t journal them right away, I leave them here until I’m ready.

My daughter came home with these sand dollars a while back.

Keeping a open mind

Sand dollars are fairly common where I live, and I’ve journaled them before. Instead of thinking that “I already know these ‘shells’ I don’t need to journal them” I keep an open mind so I can allow new discoveries to be made.

As my nature journaling practice continues to deepen over time, I keep an Beginner’s mind.

There are always new interesting discoveries to make–even with the most ordinary items.

Nature journal approach: keep it simple

Sand dollars have intricate details. I tried not to spend too much time trying to get the drawing “right” because my focus was on discovery rather than a perfect drawing.

I traced one sand dollar to get the shape and penciled in approximate location of the 5 leaf-like shapes. I sketched and zoomed into smaller areas to show the detail. This saves time so that I’m not putting that level of detail on the entire drawing.

I used words to describe things that were hard to draw. (It’s tough to draw a white object with fine textures with low contrast on a white page! )
I like to use waterproof ink and watercolor. This time I added some of the sand that fell out of the hole.

Sand dollars

These invertebrates (no backbone) are echinoderms, which means ‘spiny skin’. They are related to sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins- all have 5-part symmetry, meaning their body is divided into 5 equal sections. Sand dollars are flat, and when alive covered with what looks like fine purplish hairs which make them look furry. The burrow in the sand and filter the ocean water for food. The white sand dollars found washed up on beaches, called ‘tests’ are dead sand dollars.

Live sand dollars at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Wikimedia commons.

A cool discovery

On the flat underside, I noticed these groves radiating out from the central oral (mouth) opening— it looked like rivers from a satellite image!

Made me wonder why this pattern? I wish I examine a live sand dollar to make some connections.

5 sets of branching veins on the underside of the sand dollar.

So fun!

Now, your turn!

So, what ordinary object that you have around the house can you examine with new eyes?

Describe what you see with words as well as numbers and sketches.

What questions arise? How do you feel when you are exploring it?

I’d love to hear!

#naturesitspot #drawingnature #naturejournalclub #naturejournals #naturejournal #sparkinnature #naturejournalingweek #naturesketch #naturejournaling

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