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Keeping a Nature Journal
by Cynthia Gehrie

Many naturalists keep journals where they record their experiences in natural areas through writing and drawing or pasting in photos. To start a journal, you might do the following things.

Write the date of your visit.

Note the weather, including clouds, moisture, wind and temperature.

List the places you visit in the natural area. To help you do this, you can draw a map of the area and mark the main locations where you stop and observe.

When you stop to observe, look for kinds of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife. How many do you see of each? How does it feel to be in this spot? What is the most attractive to you? You might want to draw or photograph some of these.

What sounds do you hear? Do you smell anything unusual, fragrant or annoying?

You might want to do the same activity in another kind of setting like a shopping mall or your schoolground or your backyard . Compare your answers. Which place do you like the best?

You might want to visit the Virtual Tour to get ideas about how to draw and write about plants and animals and how to use a map.