What is nature journaling?
Nature Journaling is a fun way to experience and practice the scientific method for everyone – whether you love to draw or not. John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren developed guidelines for this hands-on and minds-on field activity that connects “art, science, math, and critical thinking while encouraging students and mentors alike to recognize and
record the wonder of the natural world” (How To Teach Nature Journaling, 2020).
The three questions you will ask – and help you observe something that interests you- as you journal are “I Notice, I wonder, and It reminds me of” , abbreviated as INIWIRMO. So, pick something you like! Whether your field activity takes place in a local park, schoolyard, backyard, or inside your home, you choose a “small part of nature” (houseplant, flower outside your window, pet, clouds, birds, or anything else), and start asking yourself these three INIWIRMO questions. Use pictures, numbers, and words to tell yourself and others about it, in any proportion that makes sense to describe your observation – but be specific. You can draw, measure, and describe in words as much or as little of your object as relates to your noticing, wondering, and asking what it reminds you of. What’s its overall shape? Does “zooming” into a small detail tell you about what it will be or where it came from? Does counting and measuring parts of it (how many leaves does your plant have, how wide, tall, and thick is it?) remind you of something else? Using labels, short sentences, or paragraphs, you can write about the what, where, and how (“my plant has 5 dark green leaves and 2 red flowers that look like the plant we got in December- how did it get here? I wonder if it will grow as tall the ground as in the container the one we had?”).
Use John Muir Laws’ and Emilie Lygren’s INIWIRMO prompts:
Be specific. Use words, pictures, and numbers
Who is, was, will it be?
What happened, is happening, happens next?
Where is, was, will it be?
When (did, will) it happen?
How does it work?
Why is it this way?
It reminds me of...
Things you have learned, seen, or held”
So, take the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions to a new level. There are no right or wrong “answers”- the purpose of nature journaling is to explore and then build on what you see. Have fun, be curious, and exercise your creativity!