You may have heard about “mindfulness” and being “present in the moment.” These ideas can feel foreign to our busy, overscheduled lives, but their premise is simple: We need to pay attention to what is happening around us. Slow down. Notice things about the natural world that you previously overlooked. Immerse yourself in the experience. By mentally recording small details, you’ll cultivate a greater appreciation for nature. To deepen the experience and solidify those memories, you can physically record them, too. One way to do that is with a nature journal. To celebrate International Nature Journaling Week (June 1-7), Naples Botanical Garden will be providing resources and prompts throughout the month to help you learn how to nature journal!
On a personal level, nature journaling is simply a reflection of your experience with nature. You can jot down thoughts, feelings, ideas, or observations in the form of poetry, prose, species lists, diary entries, or free–form writing. You can include sketches, paintings, or drawings of your encounters, even choosing them to be your main medium of expression. There are no rules! It’s all about finding how you best connect with nature in order to grow a deeper relationship with the planet.
In a larger sense, nature journaling documents how the environment appeared and behaved during a snapshot in time. These observations can be useful to scientists who are studying how natural systems change. Consider the journals kept by John Muir (1838-1914). He was the founder and first president of the Sierra Club, an organization dedicated to protecting the environment. Muir’s prolific journals informed the publication of 10 books and over 200 articles. He was influential in the establishment of Mount Rainier National Park and Grand Canyon National Park. Muir wrote about and sketched a diversity of plants, animals, and landscapes. Muir’s nature journals were essential in capturing his passion for and protection of the environment.
As you begin your nature journaling journey, we’d love to see what you create! You can share pictures of your progress to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on social media and add #Stayplanted.