With flights grounded and roads clear, the coronavirus outbreak offers us a chance to connect with the natural world in a new way. This opportunity is always available to us but but too often we spend our time so focused on rushing through our day, that we forget to stop and listen for the sound of nature behind the noise of traffic. Once this time is over, it will be too easy to return to old habits unless we use this time to cultivate new ones.
With ambient noise reduced, birdsong seems so much louder. With extra time on our hands, it is easier to stop and take note of a new tree bursting into blossom or to appreciate the earthy scent that permeates the air after rain. To capture some of the memories of this connection with nature, we would like to encourage the children to make a Nature Journal.
Making a Nature Journal:
A Nature Journal is a special place where you can record all the interesting things you see, smell, hear, feel, eat and wonder about. It will be unique to you and where you live.
You can buy a notebook to use, or make your own. A ring-binder, art sketchbook, or a watercolour pad are all great options for your journal.
You can take your journal out in your garden or on your daily walks. Find a place to sit in the woods or by a lake and write and sketch out in nature.
Working outside in the open air lets you feel the natural world and your writing and drawing can be inspired by all the things you hear, smell and feel, as well as what you can see.
Try closing your eyes and listening too.
You can fill your journal with notes, sketches, paintings, poems, pressed flowers and leaves, thoughts, ideas, even questions.
Perhaps start by sketching a large plan or map of the layout of your own garden or favourite outdoor space and label areas, plants, trees & features as you discover them.
Look closely. Draw what you see.
Look again and draw some more.
Label your drawing. Note the details you can see, perhaps where you found your item, and the date.
Wonder, ask questions? Think about what you see and why things look the way they do.
What to put in your Nature Journal
Notes of all your wonderings. (I wonder why that tree still has leaves in winter? I wonder what squirrels like to eat?)
Pressed flowers, leaves, seeds, feathers. You can stick envelopes in your journal to hold your nature finds
Sketches of the plants and animals you see on your nature walks or in the garden.
Notes on the colours, shape and size of the plants and animals. What habitats do they prefer? How do they grow? What do they eat?
Poems you have written, creative writing you have made, inspired by the Seasons. The changes in the weather.
Recipes that use seasonal foods
Tracing and rubbings from books, leaves, bark, walls.
Watercolor paintings of the plants, birds and animals you are learning about.
I look forward to seeing your journals and exploring together soon! Mr Knott