Keep a Nature Journal / Phenology Log, Part 2

Begin:

Go to your window, your porch, your back deck, your balcony; or stand in your doorway.

  • Take three deep breaths.
  • Watch, observe, and notice. 
  • Get out a notebook and list a few things you see, hear, or feel. 


My example:

March 29th, 3PM ~ the front window of my ground-floor condo in Bellingham

I notice:

  • Small leaves emerging on the branches of the Japanese maple tree outside my window.
  • Chickadees, towhees, juncos flying around like crazy.
  • Red-winged blackbirds singing up a storm in the cattails in the pond.
  • Rain clouds, big fluffy cumulus clouds, and blue sky all at once.
  • Long shadows in afternoon sun.
  • Cattails in pond are still brown — no greening yet.
  • Gray squirrel in dirt scratching for dropped bird seed.
  • Snow on far mountain.
  • Primroses beginning to bloom in my garden. Chives are super happy!

It can be as easy as that.


Guideline Pages

You can download the PDFs at the bottom of this page to print out and use in your own Nature Journal. You can also use them to spark ideas for creating your own.

I use these pages as guidelines when I have at least a half hour to spend on my nature journal. Once you start, it’s easy to spend an hour or more.

On each page, I like to note:

  • Date, time, place. 
  • The indigenous name of the place. (More on Land Acknowledgment in Week One.)
  • Weather, temperature.
  • Moon phase, times of sunrise / sunset and moonrise / moonset. Hours of daylight. (I use an app* for these things.)
  • Clouds (what kind?).
  • Wind Direction.
  • First impressions. (Example: cold and wet but lots of bird activity)
  • What do I hear? (Example: traffic, call of red-winged blackbird, neighbor’s music)
  • What do I smell? (Example: sharp cold fog.)
  • What do I see looking down, on the ground?  (Write and/or draw.)
  • What do I see at eye level? (Write and/or draw.)
  • What do I see looking up, above me? (Write and/or draw.)
  • What do I see as a whole landscape? (Write and/or draw.)
  • Reflections: Any thoughts, memories, images or anything that arises for me during this session. (Write and/or draw.)
  • Moment of Grace / Sacred Ordinary: One thing that stands out for me in some way. (Write and/or draw.)

These of course are just ideas. They work for me, and you will likely develop your own system.

*Apps I Use

Weather Underground for weather, temperature, wind direction and speed, rising and setting times for sun and moon, hours of daylight.

Deluxe Moon or Moon Pro for moon phases, sign, lunar rising and setting times.

jpc-nature-journal-1.pdf
jpc-nature-journal-2.pdf