Explore Sunset at the Laguna!

In December we will meet at the Laguna de Santa Rosa trail during the most exciting and most beautiful time of day! The crepuscular hours are when many raptors can be seen hunting and many mammals are out in the open. Every time I walk this trail near sunset I’m surprised by how many birds I see and by the incredibly lit landscapes. Last time, I saw a family of owls!

We will focus on techniques for drawing and painting quick landscapes and how to crop and choose a good composition. We will also work a lot on colors and light as the sun drops. While we are working on these, there will probably be cool bird sightings mixed in.

This trail is a very easy hike on flat and mostly paved paths. It is wheelchair accessible. We won’t cover much distance and we will probably have long stationary moments. The weather is unpredictable and can get cool as the sun drops. Bring a packable snack item to share because we will eat on the trail. A foldable lightweight stool and binoculars will be very handy on this trip.

For this trip we will meet later than usual at 1:30pm until 5:00pm to allow us to be out in nature at a special time of day. Our potluck will therefore be more of a “Linner” than a lunch. Meet at the Laguna de Santa Rosa trail parking lot off of Hwy 12 just before the entrance to Sebastopol.

If it is raining hard the morning of the event we will meet at our backup location, California Carnivores, and draw the incredible plants inside their wonderful greenhouses!The address is:

California Carnivores 2833 Old Gravenstein Hwy Sebastopol, CA 95472

For more information about this incredible carnivorous plant resource in South Sebastopol check out their page: https://www.californiacarnivores.com/

$20 recommended donation

Spoken Reflections From Tanzania: Ngorongoro to Karatu

Tanzania 2017During my trip to Tanzania, I used my nature journal and my pocket notebook for drawing and writing and I used my phone for photos, short videos, and audio recordings. With this diverse toolbox I tried to document my observations, feeling, and impressions.

In this particular recording I give some of my observations about agriculture, tourism, and my personal reactions to the land of contrast.

Most of these observations I make in messy notes in a tiny notebook in the moving bus or car, a practice I have kept up on my last three tropical expeditions. Even though I get car sick I find that there is so much to see during these trips and I have so many ideas that it would be a waste not to record them. The notes are almost illegible because they are made while in motion. I also use this book when I am on fast paced walks or hikes that do not allow for me to pull out my big nature journal sketchbook. On this trip I began the pattern of rereading these notes and elaborating on them verbally with an audio recording. I plan on repeating this system in the future.

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Spoken Reflections From Tanzania: Manyara to Arusha

IMG_5367During my trip to Tanzania, I used my nature journal and my pocket notebook for drawing and writing and I used my phone for photos, short videos, and audio recordings. With this diverse toolbox I tried to document my observations, feeling, and impressions.

Here are some reflections from the last day of the Nature Journal Safari when we drove from Lake Manyara back to Arusha. A lot of observations during the drive, covering a lot of land, seeing a lot of patterns and trying to make landscape level connections in my mind.

IMG_5414 During this drive I was constantly surprised by how barren and dry the landscape looked and how many people it actually supported.

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Spoken Reflections from Tanzania: Day 2

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During my trip to Tanzania, I used my nature journal and my pocket notebook for drawing and writing and I used my phone for photos, short videos, and audio recordings. With this diverse toolbox I tried to document my observations, feeling, and impressions.

The following is a recording where I review my second day:

It was the first day of the Nature Journal Safari and contains many of my first landscape scale impressions from the hours of cross-country driving.

One correction from the audio regarding the hanging beehives. I think they are not actually managed hives but traps for enticing homeless swarms.

IMG_5278I was not expecting so many agaves.

IMG_5279While we were waiting for our permits to enter Tarangire national park I sketched the elephant skull then posed in front of it. Thanks to Dana Vallarino for the photo.

tanzania scans 6-6A page of sketches from that morning.

IMG_5285I took this photo when Impalas were so fresh and novel. By the time we left the Serengeti, Impalas and Gazelle by the hundreds were commonplace.

Scope Out Schollenberger Wetlands!

In June, the North Coast Nature Journal Club will scope out the marshes of Schollenberger 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. 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 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 Field Trip to Sacramento Valley

On June fourth I will be participating in the Bay Area Nature Journal Club field trip with Jack Laws! I’m always excited to go Nature Journaling with Jack. Last time I went with him we saw four peregrine falcons including a dramatic hunt and kill.

For this month the trip will be to the Sacramento Valley Rice Country for some exciting bird action!

The rice farmers of the Sacramento Valley have worked closely with bird conservation groups to maximize the wildlife potential of the fields. In springtime and early summer rice fields are thriving bird nurseries. The Nature Journal Club will be the guests of the California Rice Commission for a rare behind the scenes tour of Sacramento Valley rice farms. We will search for nesting birds and learn about bird friendly agricultural techniques.

The program is open to all ages and ability levels. No registration necessary. $20 suggested donation.

“Easter Egg hunt” Hood Mountain!

I plan on going despite some rain in forecast.

Do you want to go on an “Easter egg hunt” with a bunch of curious and fun nature nerds? What better way to spend part of your Easter? Bring a friend or some family members for a healthy, outdoorsy, brain-stimulating way to spend the holiday. The North Coast Nature Journal Club will hike around Hood Mountain regional park, using our nature journals as a lens for engaging with the natural world. Instead of looking for plastic eggs filled with sugar we will look for precious natural nuggets of wonder that are just waiting to be found by a curious eye. Some dark chocolate might be involved as a cognitive enhancer. There will be great opportunities to compose and paint landscape sketches in the mixed oak woodlands and meadows. Depending on the group we might opt for a more adventurous hike to see some of the North Bay panoramas available from the ridges, where we can try our hand at painting “grand landscapitos” and study atmospheric perspective. There are also beautiful creeks to explore.

This outing will involve more strenuous hiking and areas with very uneven ground. Please wear layers, sun protection, and comfortable hiking shoes. Bring a potluck item that can be carried on the trail. Easter themed is fun if you want. As always bring your sketching and watercolor supplies. Light folding stools might be useful but focus on mobility and comfort.

We will meet at the Pythian Rd entrance parking lot. Please do not accidentally go to the Los Alamos rd entrance. This is a Sonoma County Regional Park so there is a $7 parking fee. (I recommend becoming a member. Many of our meetings will take place at these parks so a membership could be a good commitment).

$20 recommended donation

The North Coast Nature Journal Club

I started the North Coast Nature Journal Club as a way to share my personal passion for observation and learning and as a way to connect with other people in nature. Sonoma and Marin counties in Northern California are full of diverse and rich ecosystems and there are many people interested in connecting with nature. On the third Sunday of every month we explore a different location, from sand dunes to mixed oak savanna. We use our sketchbooks as a substrate for our interaction with the natural world.  I’m passionate about facilitating learning in a group and we constantly bounce ideas off each other and otherwise benefit from nature journaling as a group.

We also share a potluck lunch on every outing!

What is Nature Journaling?

When do you meet next?!

 

Are there other nature journal clubs? Check out the nature journal club facebook page for more info about other groups and the Bay Area group that started it all.

Discover Salmon Creek!

For the magnificent month of March we will meet at South Salmon Creek, just North of Bodega Dunes campground on Hwy 1. This is a very fun location to observe coastal wetlands, waterbirds, and to explore animal tracks including red foxes. This will be the perfect trip to learn more about animal tracking, how to draw tracks, and how to frame and paint 5 minute landscape sketches.

We won’t hike long distances but the terrain is slightly challenging because it is mostly sand dunes. The weather is variable and can be windy. Be prepared for sand and wind. Bring sketching and watercolor supplies, binoculars, and a potluck lunch to share. We will return to the parking lot around 12:30 for the potluck so you don’t need to pack your food/beverages on this trip.

We will meet in the parking lot at 10am. Parking here is free.

Directions: Drive north on Hwy 1 from Bodega Bay, after the big sign and turnoff for Bodega Dunes Campground stay attentive on the left. Just before the bridge over the creek there is a small turnoff onto Bean ave. Turn left onto bean ave and follow this small street until it dead ends at a parking lot covered in sand.

Be prepared to see something you have never seen before and to add 3 new tricks to your mental toolbox!

$20 recommended donation