I love seeing people keeping field and nature journals, whether it be in a creative style or just to record their local patch. When I was at university, I had an A5 sized moleskine style notebook which my classmate kindly gave to me as she had a spare, and I filled it with diagrams, notes and in some cases specimens from our regular field trips (the biggest perk, I’d argue, of being a geography student!). Unfortunately, when I graduated, I moved and in the process of moving I got rid of a lot of stuff, which as sad as it is, included a lot of my old university work, including my treasured field notebook.
It’s been a good, long while since I kept anything similar, but at the end of last year I wrote down some of the things I wanted to try and do in 2017, and starting a nature journal was one of them, as I haven’t kept one before and I knew it would be different, while still harking back to my field journal days at university. I haven’t done much, and I have to admit, I didn’t put a lot of effort in during the colder months due to other circumstances, but when I read Polly’s blog post sharing her art pieces in her nature journal post for January, which I highly recommend you check out here, it inspired me to get going again and I haven’t looked back since!
I haven’t written down all of my spots for April yet, but I started out with my spots for March, added some doodles in and even a piece of a fern of some kind I’d found in an old botanical guide as I’d spotted some similar ones earlier in the month. I try to include spots not just in my own garden, but all over, from birds to sightings of animals like foxes and other plants as well. I find it’s a handy way to watch the seasons change too.
Then, I moved on to taking some of my own, older photos, cutting out and arranging them alongside pages from old nature books, most of which I’ve gotten from second hand bookshops, to start to create a mini collage throughout the notebook. I like making my own labels and adding them to photos with date and location – helps to remember when I took them and where for future reference! I’ve got a ton of photos to do this with, so I need to organise myself and get them sorted out.
This is my favourite part! Taking one or two small clippings of a planet or flower, and pressing them to preserve them. I did this for the first time for 30 Days Wild a year ago, and it’s become a bit of an obsession! The two daisies I took when they first bloomed here this year, and I only ever take one or two so as not to affect my garden’s ecology too much. The lady’s smock I had from my garden last year as well, and the final, purple flower, which is rockcress, grows each year in our front garden. I did pick a small stem of sea thrift I found at the coast this week but I’m still pressing it, and will have an update for you when I’ve added more in!
The final few photos are where I’ve taken sections from old nature books, and added them into the mix, some alongside the flower pressings, some alongside the photos. I love having these as quick, mini reference guides as well as utilising some of my older books which have just been sitting on my shelf for a long time.
Does anyone keep a similar outdoors journal – art-themed or just for recordings? This is new for me so if anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear it!
Hope you’re all enjoying the Bank Holiday Monday today, and that your weekend has gone smoothly too.