A field notebook is a record of all your observations noticed on nature rambles. It has proved to be an important component to studying nature for many scientists. There are many styles of nature journaling and field notebooking, so explore them and decide which will work for you or develop your own style. Whether it’s sketching with pencils and pencil colours or painting with watercolours, a field notebook looks amazing regardless of the medium you choose to use.
Take an interest in nature journaling yourself. Set the example and you’ll inspire your child to do the same. If you’re worried about your sketching ability, don’t. Your diary is personal to you and its purpose is to record scientific data. Sketching ability is not important, and you’ll eventually become comfortable the more you practice. You may just surprise yourself!
Basic entries in the journal would be:
- Your name and contact details on the first page should you misplace your diary.
- Weather – is it sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy or raining?
- Wind direction
- Sketch and label your subject
Advanced entries include:
- Latin names
- Information on sketched topic
- Simple Surveys
- Lists of insects, birds, mammals, flowers, orchids, reptiles etc.
- Photographs which can show changes in seasons and environments.
- Pressed flowers/leaves
Nature journals or field notebooks have two themes: Ongoing Journal which is a record of all you’ve observed year-round or a seasonal journal. Decide which one you’d prefer. I’ve decided to keep a nature journal for a year. I’m also planning on keeping a Diary of Firsts and a Phenology Wheel.