Learn to Nature Journal at the Hallberg Butterfly Gardens!

In the spring 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.

More information as the event gets closer! A beginner’s kit might be included!

Scope Out Shollenberger Wetlands!

In May, the North Coast Nature Journal Club will scope out the marshes of Shollenberger park near Petaluma. This convenient park provides ample opportunities to sketch water birds and learn about California’s coastal wetlands, the most endangered of all our ecosystem types! The Audobon Society and local docents report 225 species of birds! There will also be expansive views of the long extinct volcano that is Sonoma mountain. We will focus on drawing and learning about the plants and birds that inhabit this area and we will also practice composing and executing small landscapes showcasing Sonoma mountain in the background.

Meet at the parking lot at 9:00. Earlier than our normal time! We are meeting earlier to beat the heat a little bit.

The address below might only get you to the intersection of Cader ln if you are following a GPS. From South Mcdowell blvd you will turn onto Cader lane/ Schollenberger park rd and continue to the parking lot. It could be a warm sunny day and we will be out in the open so plan accordingly. Sun hats, sunscreen, lots of water. The walk is very gentle, flat, and wheelchair and scooter accessible on a paved route. We will return to the parking lot before the potluck so you can keep bulkier food and beverage items in your car. Bring a light folding stool if you have one, we will do some more extended landscape and plant paintings at this location.

As usual be prepared to get super-curious in nature and connect with like minded people! Bring a potluck item to share for lunch around 12:30.

Suggested donation $20

Nature Journal Full Bloom!

In April, the North Coast Nature Journal Club will have the special opportunity to spend the day in a flower-filled apple orchard. We will enjoy the beauty of the blossoms, practice drawing the 100 year old trees, and learn about the endangered Gravenstein apple and how biodiversity is connected to our food system. We will also have a good opportunity to learn about the pollinators and other animals that call these orchards home.

For the lesson portion of the field trip we will talk about techniques for drawing trees and tricks for depicting numerous repeating patterns such as flowers or leaves. We will also discuss how to divide space on your page to create a better composition. As usual, we will practice intentional curiosity, visual thinking, and careful observation in a supportive community setting.

We will not be hiking long distances on this trip but the ground will be uneven. Wear layered clothing and be prepared for either sun and warmth or cool breezy conditions. Scooters or wheelchairs can be accommodated at this location.

This wonderful opportunity is made possible by our nature journaling friend Carole who has offered us the use of her orchard for this event. Please be respectful while we are on the property. Carole has been kind enough to allow us to use her bathroom while we are there.

We will enjoy a very scenic Potluck lunch around 12:30. We won’t need to hike with our food because we will be eating near the cars.

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

Rainy Day? Eleven Nature Journal Ideas

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.

 

Marvel at Incredible Carnivorous Plants!

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.

More Than Just Drawing Plants

It is easy to think that nature journaling is just about drawing plants and animals when it is actually so much more. In this video I describe some of the key characteristics that make nature journaling so revolutionary and accessible.

Special Access to Nature Journal at the Laguna!

In November, I have the opportunity to lead a crew of nature journalers on some normally inaccessible trails in the Laguna de Santa Rosa! I am really excited to be teaming up with Lapndpaths and the Laguna Foundation again for this trip. Come along for this fun learning adventure.

There will even be snacks and beverages before we head out 🙂

Thanks to Landpaths this class is free if you pre-register here

Spaces are filling up fast so take advantage of this opportunity.

Nature Journal Inside! No Excuses

I had to cancel the nature journaling field trip for today but here is a video that I made to motivate you to nature journal at home! Consider it your homework 🙂 I guarantee it will help you maintain your sanity if you are stuck inside from the smoke:

Please send me an email if you have any other good nature journaling ideas for indoors on rainy or smoky days!

Second Chance Elk Rut!

 

EVENT CANCELLED due to likelihood of smoke!!!

If you want some nature journaling home study inspiration or exercises for this weekend please email me: marley339@gmail.com. I will also probably post a video with some inspiration for indoor nature journaling.

 

In November we will hike back out to Tomales Point for a second chance or a double dose of the Tule Elk!  There should still be some of the mating season behavior at this time of year and we will get an opportunity to document it in our journals. Last year we ended up witnessing some amazing coyote activity on the second chance elk trip and we also encountered  humans who thought it was a wolf! We did our best to spread accurate information about the distinctions between wolves and coyotes and the political importance of this difference. Thanks to Constance, and the California Center for natural History for participating in this field trip last year and providing an awesome spotting scope that helped us see the wolf, I mean coyote, up close.

The weather is variable at this coastal location so 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.

We will meet at 10 am at the McCLure’s Beach trailhead parking lot at the very end of Pierce Point past the parking lot with the old white barns. McClures Beach Trail, Inverness, CA 94937, United States. 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.

RAINY DAY BACKUP PLAN: If lots of rain is in the forecast, check this site the morning of the event. We will go to the Bear Valley Visitor center in Point Reyes where we can sketch birds and landscapitos from the covered porch or sketch any of the fine collection of taxidermied animals inside. Last time I was there during a rain I saw and journaled a sharp shinned hawk hunting a song bird in the bushes just yards away! The address is

Be prepared for Nature Journaling goosebumps and a good dose of charismatic mammalian megafauna!

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

Capture the Essence of California Oak Savanna

In the month of October the north coast nature journal club will be exploring the rolling hills and oak savanna of Helen Putnam Regional Park near Petaluma. We will practice several techniques for doing small watercolor landscapes to capture the essence and atmosphere of the place. We will also practice drawing three-dimensional trees with several tricks that will make your branches look like they’re coming off the page.

We will be hiking short distances up and down hill on this trip with mostly even terrain. Bring all your normal nature journaling supplies and binoculars. Be prepared for sun and warm conditions. A small folding stool could be useful for the longer landscape drawing. This location has a bathroom and seven dollar parking unless you are a member of the Sonoma County Regional Parks. Bring a potluck item that is not too hard to carry onto the trail because we will not want to go back to the parking lot for lunch.

$20 recommended donation

For more information about this park: Helen-Putnam-Regional-Park

In case of heavy rain, unlikely, we will head to California Carnivores in Sebastopol where we can journal and draw incredible carnivorous plants while being protected from the rain..  Directions