I hope you all had some time to explore your homes and the areas around your homes to do some nature journaling! Last week we talked about different ways to experiment with color and technique while observing natural material close-by. We saw some wonderful examples of color and playing with using more than one tool to create some really impressive journal entries – thank you!
Now that you’ve all had time to figure out what tools work best for you, let’s focus on something a little more specific. There are many environmental observations you can be making to help properly document your nature scene. Accurately documenting your environment when creating a nature journal is essential. When you look back at your work, you want to be able to have an understanding of the context of your findings. If you nature journal frequently, environmental observations alongside your entries can be a very helpful tool in understanding patterns and change over time.
The essential things to note in any nature journal are the date, time, and temperature. These are to help keep you organized as well as provide some kind of context for your observations.
Some other types of observations that are good to make are cloud coverage, rainfall, humidity, and pretty much any type of general weather patterns you are noticing. Not only is this helpful for enhancing your entry, but we can learn a lot from knowing what types of clouds we are seeing, if there has been any moisture in the air, etc. It is not necessary to illustrate these observations, but it can be fun and a new type of challenge if you are up to the task!
Clouds not only indicate what the current weather is, but they can also be key in helping to determine what the weather is going to be and even what kind of weather there was leading up to the moment of observation. In The Nature Connection an Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families and Classrooms by Clare Walker Leslie, Clare does a wonderful job talking about different cloud types and how they can be documented and identified. You can draw the clouds that you are seeing, or even describe them in writing to help you better understand what is going on around you.
Here is a very helpful flow chart taken from the World Meteorological Association to help with cloud identification.
For next week, I plant to keep a chart on one page of my nature journal that notes the time I am journaling, where the sun is in the sky, if there is any type of moisture or humidity, the current temperature, any cloud coverage and type (if I know) and any additional weather notes I would like to make. If you are feeling especially organized, you can reference the pages of journaling that correspond with these environmental conditions.
Because of the changing weather and all the rain we have been having, April is a great month to challenge yourself to observe cloud coverage and weather patterns. For this week, I encourage all of you to start tracking the weather and environmental conditions that are happening alongside your journal entries. You can do this through sketches or written observations but keep in mind that you want to be able to look back at it and understand what was going on. Being able to look up at the sky and notice environmental cues is a wonderful skill to have and will certainly serve you well outside of nature journaling.
Try to make environmental observations at least three times before next Wednesday. If we have enough people tracking the weather, we can compare what different community members were observing at different times and even in slightly different areas. Until next time!
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