How to Nature Journal Where You Grew Up

What was your connection to nature where you grew up? In this video, I show you how to nature journal where you grew up as I explore the natural area I first explored and fell in love with as a kid. Come on this adventure with me. See where I went as a kid. We’ll nature journal Southern California plants and nature mysteries. In addition we will  learn some techniques for reconnecting to a place.

Nature journaling is a powerful tool for science and for art. However, many people forget that journaling is probably the most powerful tool for connecting with feelings. Despite the direction science has gone in we cannot truly separate emotions from our connection with and understanding of nature. In fact, we can improve our nature journal pages by including more of these feelings. Not only that but when you get the feelings out of your head you can observe more of the world around you and perform better as an artist.

How to Nature Journal Where You Grew Up

  • First, be prepared. You can expect some strong feelings to come up when you visit your childhood nature. Many people will experience grief because their favorite tree from childhood is cut down. You might have lots of anger come up because the whole natural area has been developed. Be prepared for some emotions to come up. Try to be well resourced before you go. Did you get enough sleep? Do you have other major emotional drains in your life right now? If you are stressed in other ways it may make you more sensitive and reactive to what comes up for you.
  • Second, journal what is. For most people things have changed since they were a kid. This might make you avoid going back there. “I can’t nature journal there because it has all been developed.” “I can’t nature journal there because it is private property now.” The solution is to nature journal what is. Don’t ignore the human impacts. That is part of the place now, that is essential to the story. At the very least you could write a title, draw a simple map, and write down a few of your feelings. You will feel better by doing this and you will show respect for a place that helped shape you.
  • Third, use nature journaling to experience the place more like a kid. Your nature journal can help you see the place as you did when you were growing up. The nature journal process can help you slow down and remove the jaded perspective of an adult. This will help you connect to the place more instead of just walking around with your normal adult mind-wandering and ruminating. The default mode network is the part of your brain that will prevent you from connecting to this place.
Just getting started with nature journaling?

Need more tips? If so, check out this post. It will walk you through how to nature journal in 10 steps.

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!

What I did This Winter

Happy new year everyone! I’m excited for all the cool plans I have for providing fun and valuable content and art this year. But to start with I’m gonna share this video to give you an idea of what I was up to during my winter break.