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NATURE JOURNALING

Children and Staff make their own cloth-bound Nature Journals.

It is important to ask children to extract meaning from their experiences and to translate those insights into new experiences. We ask children and staff to tell their stories: to draw, to paint, to write, to think, to brood, to capture the moment, to seize the day – all done in the quietness of nature’s writing studio – wherever one might be.

The act of writing and drawing about what one has observed, felt, or done, often produces new insights, and an understanding of the natural world.

Nature journaling truly involves the child (the “illustrator!”) directly in what he observes. With gladness, the child re-creates what he sees and does, not merely record. He then expresses what seems important, hence worthy to stress and convey in a single compelling image.

Depending upon age or writing ability, a written description or commentary can be added. At NC, younger children take delight in dictating to older children or counselors, adding their heartfelt words to what has been drawn. This creative
process is at the heart of natural history observation.

There is that magical element of writing with a stick pen or a feather, using one’s naturally made ink–dipping and re-dipping while drawing or writing. And it is all done slowly, acknowledging that what goes slow can run deep–and ever so beautifully.

Thinking out loud in Nature Journals enables children and adults to savor an experience as rich and colorful as a sunset.

“Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you” Huxley, 1972.

Huxley’s statement is an environmental maxim. Reflecting upon what is drawn or written leads to the vital realization that there is both much to understand in nature and much to lose.

 
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