Hi everyone, I have started off the New Year with a pretty bad throat infection so I won’t be leading a field trip until February. Stay tuned to my calendar page for more details. In the meantime, check out my videos on my youtube channel which I continue to upload new ones every week. Check it out here
It was dark and drizzly as I started the engine of my car this morning. The pale glow of the dashboard clock said 4:26 am as it blinked into life with the sound of my engine. The Wild Wonder nature journaling conference was over and it was time for me to head home.
Now that the intense few days of travel, teaching, sharing, listening, and networking are over it is time for us to get back to our daily lives, our work in the world. For me, nature journaling and journaling in general are big parts of my daily life AND my work in the world. One of the ways that I support the education that I am doing is through my Patreon page. Please watch this short video where I describe how you can help me spread this incredible important work:
Follow me in this video as I discover that it is hotter in California than it was in East Africa!
Join me on this foggy and cold nature journaling field trip to the biodiverse coastal dunes of Sonoma County!
This will be my last nature journal adventure post before my trip to Tanzania!
Nature Journaling is not about drawing pretty pictures. It is about accelerating your learning and deepening your observations and connection in nature. Ironically, if you are focused on pretty pictures you will struggle to get pretty pictures and you will struggle to deepen your observations and accelerate your learning in nature 🙁
However, if you focus on the learning and observation you will end up getting prettier and prettier pictures as a by product.
It has been a really rainy/snowy winter, but that should not keep us from nature journaling. I spent a rainy day making this video with Eleven nature journaling ideas you can practice when the weather outside is frightful.
If you like this video please thumbs up and subscribe to my channel. If you have any other good rainy day ideas let me know in the comments.
You are lucky. Life has existed for 3.5 billion years on this planet and you happen to live during the period that has arguably the greatest variety of living organisms ever. And since we have yet to discover even one form of life or fossil life anywhere besides earth this place and this moment could be the most biodiverse period in the 13.8 billion year history of the universe. You are one lucky entity. So how can you enjoy your luck while it lasts? Here are three ways…
Every day you take for granted the beauty and meaning of the biodiversity around you. I’m talking about in your backyard, not just in exotic rain forests. And it is impossible to quantify the benefits that you receive as a human from the diverse and novel forms and functions of the organisms around you. For example, artists, scientists, and designers have taken inspiration or directly copied natural forms since the origins of culture. Can you imagine how boring and destitute life would be if you lived on a planet with three kinds of plants, three kinds of animals, and a handful of microorganisms? It is ridiculous to even visualize it. Even 100 of each would probably be pretty bad. (The above photo is of an orchid flower from a botanical garden in Ecuador. According to the signage Ecuador contains more diversity of orchid species than any other country.)
Luckily, you do not live in such a ridiculously un-diverse nightmare world so you might as well enjoy the aesthetics and inspiration that surround you. One way to do so is to nature journal, you could also become a birder, an orchid lover, or an amateur lichenologist. (in the photo you can see some examples of wasp biodiversity from the pages of my nature journal. I appreciate wasps as an amateur and greatly enjoy their various shapes and colors.)
When you were a baby you experienced and appreciated the world by putting things in your mouth. You can still do that as an adult but with a tad more discretion. Eating a variety of foods is one of the greatest pleasures of being human as well as important for good health. Availability of a diversity of food is something we cannot take for granted. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN the diversity of agricultural crops is estimated to have diminished by about %75 percent in the last 100 years. In addition, around three fourths of the world’s food comes from twelve plants and five species of animals (that is starting to sound like our ridiculously boring nightmare world!) As an eater of food you can seek out and support edible biodiversity by showing interest in and supporting the preservation of different types of plant, animal, and fungal food. Not only is it the right thing to do but it is also tasty and nutritious and sometimes adventurous. Speaking of adventurous, check out this funny and controversial article I wrote about eating biodiversity.
Why put all your eggs in one basket when there are so many diverse and beautiful different types of baskets? Not only is it unimaginably boring to live on a planet with a handful of species, or to only eat five types of plants, it is also ridiculously precarious to depend entirely on a safety net made of five strands. You might as well enjoy the diversity available to you now while also hedging your bets a little bit. Depending on diversity is always a good strategy during unpredictable times or rapid change. And you live in the most unpredictable and rapidly changing period in human history. For an academic article exemplifying the diversification strategy in a traditional culture check out my essay called Diversity and Adaptation. (In the photo above I am opening an example of a food crop that is delicious and nutritious but virtually unknown outside of South America. It is a relative of breadfruit. This is the type of agrobiodiversity that is being lost every year.)
I’m sure there are more than three main ways to enjoy the uniquely biodiverse period that we are living in. What ways do you enjoy? How do you taste the rainbow? On the flip side what aspects of biodiversity have you noticed yourself or your community taking for granted? In the next article I will talk about the decline in biodiversity and the incredible opportunity and role we can play during what looks like it will be the Sixth Great Extinction.
This rant about biodiversity would not be complete without a diversity of other sources for you to check out:
Today is a great day. Not only did I receive a an awesome bag in the mail from Tom Bihn but John Muir Laws just announced the Nature Journal Safari for 2019! Woohoo! A combination made in heaven.
Watch the video below to see my unboxing and my initial impressions of the Maker’s bag by Tom Bihn.
Thanks to Tom Bihn Bags in Seattle for the awesome work that they do and sending me an awesome product to test in the field!
I’m still hoping to get support and test products from Stillman and Birn Sketchbooks, Exofficio underwear, Four Sigmatic, Patagonia, Merrell, and REI on this upcoming expedition. If your company has a product that you want me to test please let me know.
For more about the bag check out the Tom Bihn website below.
The one-handed rants continue… watch this timelapse of me drawing and painting with my left hand.
Follow me in this video as I explain some of the ideas that have emerged while I’m dealing with recent surgery to my wrist. As an artist, writer, and nature journaler, any setback to my dominant hand is a big deal.
On my website I share what I’m going through right now, my learning process, and my own personal challenges. As usual, email me if you have any interesting experiences or ideas around this subject matter. If you find this video helpful or valuable please share it with a friend.