Nature Journaling

Back in March, I took a nature journaling course from the University of North Florida. Kelly Johnson, author of Wings, Worms and Wonder taught the class. Kelly is a wonderful leader and great at "sparking wonder!"

Our small class visited a variety of locations--the Jacksonville Arboretum, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, and Dutton Island Preserve in Atlantic Beach, Florida.

The great thing about nature journaling is that you can use your own style and method. Some people draw and write notes, some look up the scientific names and information on what they observe and note it in their journal, others write poetry or prose inspired by nature.

You see my poor attempt at drawing in the photo above. Being a photographer, I prefer to take lots of photos, and write observations. I found a great online venue called iNaturalist. is a place to "record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers and learn about the natural world."

What's neat about iNaturalist is you can upload a photo, or a recording of a bird singing, etc. and ask the community to help you identify it. So far, I've uploaded 102 photos, and most are classified as research grade (not just the quality of the photo, but the fact it is dated and a location provided). You can also journal in iNaturalist, and others can add comments.

If you prefer a more private type of journaling, that's fine too. It's all just a way to get yourself outside and really pay attention to the plants and critters, sky, clouds, stars and surroundings.

And you don't have to go far. Many of my favorite photos are from my own back yard, like this beautiful cardinal.


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