Nature Journal Notes
When making recordings and observations in nature journals, emphasis is often put on what people can see and not so much on what they can hear. Today's exercise is all about changing perspective and, in fact, eliminating the element of sight altogether. The sounds that are associated with different seasons, environments, or even times of day can be equally as insightful and intriguing as the visual elements of an area. Below are a couple of ideas for nature journaling that focus on the different sounds within a habitat and how to capture them in a meaningful way. Being in tune with the different, natural noises of an environment can serve as a helpful backdrop when learning various animal calls, especially birds!
The first journaling activity is to track changes in sound over time. This is very similar to previously mentioned journaling activities about watching a landscape change over time, or a specific flower or leaf. Find a place in nature that is easily accessible and can be visited around the same time every day. Take a seat and begin to listen to the sounds. After taking a moment to fully embrace the area, start a timer for a set amount of time. While the timer is running, record all the noises that are happening in the environment. If any of the sounds are coming from unknown sources, try to describe them as specifically as possible. Do this exercise at least once a day in the same spot for a week and see if anything changes! This can also be done at different times throughout the day to see how the time of day affects what kinds of noises can be heard.
The next sound journaling activity is to create a sound map! Similarly to the first activity, step one is to find somewhere in nature to sit and be undisturbed while listening to the surroundings. Pull out your nature journal and follow these steps to create a map:
If you would like your sound map to be more visual, you can create a sound key as well! With your sound key, you can designate different shapes for the different sounds you are hearing. Just be sure to record what each shape represents in as much detail as possible. Although it is not necessary, it can be a lot of fun to create sound maps at different times throughout the day as well as from the same spot on different days over time. It can be an insightful visual tool for watching sounds change and move throughout an environment. You can even explore with creating sound maps in different habitats.
What sounds were different? Are there any sounds that stayed the same? Are you unsure of any of the sounds you are hearing?
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