Journaling is one of the sacred arts of the naturalist. I journal almost anything, and everything new I find. It helps me work my minds eye, in order to better remember that plant, track, bird, etc in the future. There are a few steps to journaling that I recommend.
1. Take your time sketching it. Take good measurements, and notes on colour. That being said, don’t take too much time. Nothing like being that person who sketches for 1 hour to keep you from ever journaling again. Take stock of the gross details, and put them on your page. Who cares if it doesn’t look exactly right? Your own mind knows what you mean, and that’s what’s important.
2. Take good notes about your surroundings. Tracks, plants, and birds will reappear in similar habitats, so taking notes on the habitat around you will help you notice this trend. Make sure to note surrounding vegetation and animals you may have found, as well as weather your in a meadow, near a river, up a mountain, etc
3. Write your naturalist questions down. Things like: Who made this track? How is this animal moving? What family is this plant in? What can you make with it? What is this bird’s alarm call?
4. Hit up the field guides. All the good naturalists I know go everywhere with multiple field guides. Though this can be a burden when on a hike, definitely check your field guides when you get home. Write the answers down in your journal for further resource!
(Photo by Emily Gibson) (Photo by Suzy Wimbourne)