Journal in the Majestic Old Growth Redwoods!

Do you want to explore the majesty of giant redwoods and discover the botanical and biological treasures that grow nestled beneath them? Now is your chance to experience this calming environment while capturing it in your nature journal because on March 8th I will be leading a field trip to Landpath’s Grove of Old Trees in Occidental!  This preserve is a a secret gem in West Sonoma County and has a calming effect on all who visit.

RSVP  is required for this special class limited to 15 people. Please contact me directly at marley339 at gmail.com

In this class I will teach art topics including: how to accurately draw trees that have depth, how to incorporate bold stylistic motifs into your pages, and how to drop into a meditative flow in your journaling. I will also talk about Natural history topics: the ecology and reproduction of redwood trees and their evolutionary history.

The weather is likely to be buffered by the trees but will mostly be shady, humid and cool. Wear layers.  We will not be walking much but the the trails are wide, easy, and many of them are wheelchair or scooter accessible. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a folding stool if you have one that you like, a potluck item to share, utensils for yourself and water to drink. There is no 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 the calming effect of the old growth forest shared with like-minded people in a beautiful setting. If rain is in the forecast I will contact you about backup plans.

RSVP  is required for this special class limited to 15 people. Please contact me directly at marley339 at gmail.com. If you have not communicated with me directly you are not registered for this class.

$20 suggested donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.

The last few country roads are very small and narrow, you may feel lost but just drive slow and trust the directions. Maybe give yourself more time for the drive than your navigation app suggests. We will be waiting for you in the parking lot.

North Bay Nature Journaling Paradise!

People who live in the North Bay are in luck! Because the San Francisco Bay Area is the epicenter of the Nature Journaling movement! If you live in Sonoma, Napa, Solano, or Marin you also know we have tons of beautiful parks and natural areas to explore. As a result, I consider the North Bay a Nature Journaling paradise!

Nature Journaling classes and clubs in our area:

  • As you probably know, I lead the Monthly Nature Journaling fieldtrips with the North Bay Nature Journal Club, usually in Sonoma and Marin. See the calendar here.
  • There is also the newly formed Napa Valley Nature Journal Club. Check out their Facebook page here. If you live and nature journal in the Napa Valley you can help this club grow.
  • Short Monthly Classes with John Muir Laws where he goes over specific techniques. See his calendar here. And he also leads a field trip near the end of every month sometimes in the north bay but also in the East and South Bay.

Here are my top three North Bay nature journaling spots for 2020!

  1. Abbot’s Lagoon in the Point Reyes National Seashore. This incredible location has it all: sand dunes, biodiversity, seabirds, otters, and beautiful vistas. It is a little bit of a drive if you are coming from Santa Rosa or Vallejo or Napa but it is definitely worth it for a half day or more nature journaling adventure.
  2. Sonoma Baylands Trail on San Pablo Bay. This central location is gonna be a relatively short drive from most towns. It is a wonderful place to marvel at the marshlands that used to surround the entire Bay Area. There are many seabirds and weird plants here too. Even though it is a short drive from the city you will feel peaceful here.
  3. Helen Putnam Regional Park. I have led the North Bay Nature Journal Club to this location several times. It is easy to get to but has beautiful oak savanna landscapes and wonderful old trees. It can get very hot so plan accordingly.
painting at helen putnam park one of my favorite north bay nature journaling locations
nature journaling at helen putnam photo by @amycycles

Nature Journal Weird Carnivorous Plants!

Do you want to escape the cold and the rain to go on a nature journaling vacation to a tropical rain forest in February? You are in luck because on February 9th I will be leading a nature journaling field trip 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, liverworts, and mosses.

RSVP  is required for this special class limited to 15 people. Please contact me directly at marley339 at gmail.com

In this class I will teach topics including: how to quickly capture the essence of complex shapes in our drawings, how to draw things we are intimidated by, and how to nature journal in visually overwhelming or information-dense settings.

The weather will be relatively mild, humid, and warm 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 that you like, a potluck item to share, utensils for yourself and water to drink. There is a bathroom on site. Unfortunately, this site is not wheelchair or scooter friendly.

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!

RSVP  is required for this special class limited to 15 people. Please contact me directly at marley339 at gmail.com

$20 suggested donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Nature Journal and Sketch at Balboa Park!

On December 21st I will be leading a completely FREE field trip at the world famous Balboa Park in San Diego! We will start at the Lily Pond and Botanical Building and sketch and botanize our way past the giant fig tree to the Desert garden on the other side of Park Avenue.

The goal of this field trip will be to bring together some of the sketchers and nature journalers that are in San Diego and have fun together in a beautiful place! We will mostly be looking at plants but be prepared for our curiosity and luck to lead us to pretty birds or bugs. For the instructional portion of the class I will give tips on designing attractive page layouts, keys to drawing trees, and drawing little landscapes.

We will meet at 10am at the Lily Pond. Look for people standing around with sketchbooks. Hold your sketchbook so that others will recognize you. Bring a hat, sunscreen, field sketching supplies, binoculars, plenty of water and a potluck item to share. Potluck will be at 12:30 near the fig tree in front of the Natural History Museum.

Our basic route for the day.

The best place to park is probably near the natural history museum. From there you can walk to the Lily Pond. This trip is scooter and wheelchair friendly, we will not hike long distances. It will probably be a crowded time of year so there will be a lot of people. As usual be prepared for stimulating your curiosity, sharpening your artistic skills, and having fun with like-minded people!

Tracking and Journaling Elk!

In November, the North Coast Nature Journal Club will go back to Tomales Point for a second chance to see the elk during the tail end of their breeding season! We will have an opportunity to apply some of the tracking skills that we learned in  the last class to the habitat of these 200-500 pound ungulates.  Throughout the trip we will be surrounded by biodiverse coastal prairie, a vast view of the ocean, and scenic coves and cliffs. Can you believe this is available within a few hours drive from San Francisco? We have also seen coyotes lounging, bobcats patrolling,  harrier hawk fly-bys, and cruising peregrines, in addition to fascinating wildflowers and native bees. For the instruction aspect we will focus on how to apply a tracking perspective to add another layer of insight into your nature journaling. There will also be instruction on how to create compelling landscape sketches so be sure to bring your watercolors if you have them.Tule elk view of tomales bay

The weather is variable at this coastal location so wear layers and be prepared for everything. The hiking will be moderately strenuous due to the distances we will try to cover but the terrain will not be too technical. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, bring a folding stool, binoculars, and a potluck item to share on the trail. This location is not scooter friendly.

We will meet at 10 am at the Tomales Point trailhead parking lot at the very end of pierce point road near the old white barns. Look for people standing around with sketchbooks. This excursion will go longer than our usual meetup to take advantage of this special opportunity. 10am-4pm, potluck lunch at 12:30. Check this site the evening before the trip for weather updates. Our rainy day plan is to go to the Bear Valley Visitor center in Point Reyes where there are wonderful displays and covered areas to nature journal.

This trip is limited to 15 people. Email or message me directly to save your spot. Marley339 at gmail.com

$20 suggested donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.

CANCELLED DUE TO LIBRARY CLOSURE! Tracking for Journalers: The Secret Language of Nature (Lafayette)

Do you want to take your nature observations to the next level? Do you want to see more animals and understand more of what is going on around you? Join this illuminating class to learn how tracking and nature journaling combined can make you a much more perceptive naturalist. We will go over fundamental tracking knowledge, awareness exercises to make you more observant, and specific ways to enrich your journal pages with a tracking perspective. Marley will also share photos, stories, and journal pages from tracking adventures on three continents.

All ages and experience levels are welcome.

No registration necessary, $20 suggested donation.

Lafayette: Wednesday 10:30 -12:00
Lafayette Library and Learning Center
3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA 94549 United States

Tracking for Journalers: The Secret Language of Nature (Tiburon)

Do you want to take your nature observations to the next level? Do you want to see more animals and understand more of what is going on around you? Join this illuminating class to learn how tracking and nature journaling combined can make you a much more perceptive naturalist. We will go over fundamental tracking knowledge, awareness exercises to make you more observant, and specific ways to enrich your journal pages with a tracking perspective. Marley will also share photos, stories, and journal pages from tracking adventures on three continents.

All ages and experience levels are welcome.  No registration necessary, $20 suggested donation.

Tiburon: Tuesday, 10-11:30
Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary
376 Greenwood Beach Road
Tiburon, CA 94920 United States