person writing in a notebook by a river

How To Create A Nature Journal

As technology continues to worm its way into every aspect of our modern lives, finding ways to connect with nature is more important than ever before. Simply spending time outdoors and making an effort to enjoy fresh air each day is better than nothing, but ensuring that we can actually enjoy and reflect on these experiences is what is really vital. 

Creating a nature journal is a brilliant way to do this and preserve the detail, colour and life of the natural world through words and pictures. It’s incredibly easy to get started, but if you’re not sure how to create a nature journal, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

What Is A Natural Journal?

A nature journal is a personal record of your experience in the great outdoors. Most include some kind of combination of sketches and words and focus on both accurate observation and a more abstract reflection of the natural world. This means that nature journals tend to have two purposes. Firstly, to capture beautiful views and improve recognition of different types of wildlife. Secondly, to encourage individuals to connect with nature and build a relationship that promotes calm and mindfulness.

Choose Your Journal

The first thing you need to do if you want to create a nature journal is find a suitable notebook or type of paper. You’ll want something compact and lightweight that is easy to carry, but the most important factor to consider when choosing your journal is quality and durability. A nature journal is a fantastic way to capture fleeting encounters in the outdoors and turn them into timeless memories, so it’s important that your notebook can stand the test of time too.

A waterproof notebook is the best way to go if you want to make sure that your precious notes and drawings are kept in good condition and won’t be ruined by water, weather or dirt when you’re out and about observing nature. For a more rustic feel, why not opt for waterproof paper? You could bind your notes together to create a truly unique long-lasting nature journal.

Things To Include In A Nature Journal

Next, simply get journaling. There are no rules when it comes to what you should or shouldn’t include and the type of journaling you prefer might affect what fills the pages most. If you’re more of a writer, your nature journal will naturally include more measurements and charts, whereas anybody more artistically inclined might opt for more drawings and sketches. 

If you find yourself really stuck when getting started, head to your nearest nature reserve or national park and try to record some of the following in your nature journal: 

  • Lists of everything you observe, from birds and animals to plants and trees.
  • Sketches of animals and wildlife. These don’t need to be lifelike, just try to draw in a way that represents how these things made you feel!
  • Anything that will remind you of what the day was like. Record the date and time and make reference to the weather so that you can always set the scene when reflecting on your memories.
  • Leaves, flowers and tree rubbings - these will really bring your nature journal to life!

Things To Remember

The most important piece of advice for anyone wondering how to create a nature journal is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Nature is everywhere and if you feel enough connection to something to want to record it, that’s enough to justify its inclusion. The act of reflecting is just as important as the finished product, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t see your nature journal as a work of art. By taking time out to regularly focus on nature around you, creativity will come and you’ll be well on your way to making some fantastic observations about our wonderful world!