Why Start a Nature Journal?
“The pleasure and value of every walk or journey we take may be doubled to us by carefully noting down the impressions it makes upon us… Part of the lure of keeping a journal is the world you enter when you open it. Working in it sets up an island of quiet and deliberateness to which you will long to return”
John Muir Laws
Why start a nature journaling practice? Because there are so many wonderful benefits. A few of the many reasons for keeping a nature journal are to connect with nature, slow down and observe the natural world, stimulate curiosity, unleash creativity, increase gratitude, connect to nature and a community of nature journalers, and deepen a regard and respect for nature.
As adults, many of us have forgotten to be curious when curiosity comes so naturally to children. I think we’ve trained ourselves to become less curious as we rush about our daily lives and forget to physically stop, smell the roses, and notice our surroundings. Curiosity stimulates our brains, enhances brain function and it’s exciting.
“Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.”
Robert Herrick - 1648
Creating a nature journal supports us to keep a record of where we are in time and space. What is happening with the weather? What’s blooming in our neighborhood? What critters are flying and crawling about? We're deepening our awareness of our surroundings. Looking back to the seasons that passed, we can compare plant schedules. In one of my journals, I note bluebonnets are blooming at the beginning of April. Last year they bloomed an entire month earlier, making me wonder why. See this journal entry below.
By slowing down and observing our surroundings we discover nature's healing powers on the mind and body. Our journal can also be a place to write down thoughts and feelings. Just the fact that we’ve taken the time to experience nature and fill our lungs with fresh oxygenated air will reduce stress and benefit our mind, body, and spirit.