As a nature journaler I am always curious how others got started nature journaling. And what about you? Do you ever wonder about the story behind the nature journalers whose sketches and paintings you see online? In this episode of The Nature Journal Show we learn about Melinda Nakagawa, her experience with nature sketching, nature education, and how she started a new nature journal club in Monterey California!
The first thing that I was impressed by in our conversation was that Melinda started nature journaling in 1998 since the term nature journaling has not been around for that long. Her first nature journal pages were from a whale watching trip. Before this however she was already an avid note taker and had used journaling in a diary sort of way.
After nature journaling on her own for some time her husband bought her a book by Clare Walker Leslie. Soon after that she also got the nature journaling book by Hannah Hinchman. Now she could see that other people were nature journaling too. A little bit later she got the book by John Muir Laws. While all of these books inspired her it was the Wild Wonder nature journaling conference in 2019 that really lit her up. Because of the incredible feeling of the nature journaing community at that event she decided to start her own nature journal club where she lived in Monterey California.
Four Nature Journaler Tips
1. First of all combine nature journaling with your existing interests. Melinda grew her nature journal practice from her birding and marine biology practices.
2. Next, build your skills of existing skills. Are you a note taker or a poet? Do you draw diagrams for work? Are you a data scientist? How can you use your existing skills in your nature journal?
3. Third, connect with community. By connecting with community you will get more motivation and you will learn faster. In addition, it is much more fun! Melinda got a huge burst of inspiration after she went to the Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference. Community can be online too.
4. Last but not least, start teaching nature journaling. Even if you are a beginner nature journaler there are people who are more new to it than you. By sharing what you have learned so far you will accelerate your own learning and reinforce your skills. Start before you are ready.
Are you curious about fun analog ways to plan and organize your life? Join me in this experiment as I try out Bullet Journaling and see how I can incorporate it into my life and my other journaling systems.
I’m super excited to be collaborating with the biodiverse pollinator sanctuary Hallberg Butterfly Gardens! We will be offering an introduction to nature journaling course at their site in Sebastopol. Insects and pollinators are not only fascinating to study and draw but they play a huge part in our ecosystems and have been seriously endangered in recent years. As nature journalers, our observations can play an important role in citizen science and creating a record of these species in our areas.
Supplies will be included! The class is offered at a sliding scale. $45 minimum to register. Please use the ticket link or contact us to sign up. firstname.lastname@example.org (707)823-3420
Do you want to know what journal to use for nature journaling, sketching, and mindset journaling? In this video I describe my choice and why I have used this same sketchbook for my last 34 journals! I also give you the important criteria in choosing a book so that you can make your own decision.
Sitting down with Kim Lavere and learning about her journaling practice and the role that it has played in her life trajectory was inspiring. I definitely have been stealing some of her techniques for my own journaling practices! I posted the interview through youtube but it is mostly audio content so feel free to listen to it as such.
Do you know anyone with an interesting journaling practice? Let me know so I can interview them next.
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.
“One Journal to rule them all, One Journal to write them, One Journal to connect them all, and on these pages bind them,”
–Gandalf the Great
In this video I describe how I see the options available to journalers when deciding how many journals to have. There is a spectrum from having many specialized journals to having just one “omni-journal” with everything.
In the month of January, the North Coast Nature Journal club will stay out of the rain and warm inside the bio-diverse greenhouses at California Carnivores in Sebastopol! This local business contains arguably the biggest collection of carnivorous plants in the world. Not only are these plants fascinating to study and beautiful to draw but many of them are also endangered. They also have many orchids, bromeliads, etc.
Topics covered will include: how to quickly capture the essence of complex shapes in our drawings, how to draw things we are afraid of, and how to nature journal in visually overwhelming or information-dense settings.
The weather will be relatively mild, humid, and probably warmish inside the greenhouses. Hats will be useful if it is sunny. We will not be walking much but the floor is uneven and made of gravel. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a folding stool if you have one, a potluck item to share, utensils for yourself and water to drink. There is a bathroom on site.
We will meet at 10 am in the parking lot. Look for people standing around with sketchbooks. Potluck lunch around 12:30.
Be prepared for mind-boggling plant forms and colors as well as a good dose of novelty-induced dopamine!
$20 suggested donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.