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What's the POINT of Nature Journaling?

If you don't tell your story, who will?

(This blog post is the transcript of a 3-minute video I recently made. To watch the video on YouTube, click here).

Hi, friends! Rebecca here from Forest School-to-You. So, I’m an Admin in John Muir Laws’ Nature Journal Club Facebook group (if you’re not in there, check it out) -- and I need to say something. I see people ALL the Time, especially new members, saying things like “I’m new here, I’ve been afraid to post because I don’t think my nature journal is good enough…” or “I’m hesitant to share my nature journal, yours are all so beautiful…”

And that makes me really sad! Because it’s not ABOUT a pretty picture. John Muir Laws says this all the time, and I know it might be hard to believe coming from him, because his pictures ARE really pretty. But this isn’t an art project. Just look at some of the nature journal pictures in my feed.

I know a lot of you do illustration, and that’s fantastic. If art is your thing, there are so many nature journal educators who can help you develop your skills -- Melinda Nakagawa, Marley Peifer, Roseann Hanson, Brian Higgenbotham, and new on the scene: Hannah n’GRAINed -- among many others.

But, that’s not the WHOLE point. Nature journaling is about recording YOUR story. It’s a tool to help you learn and remember. It’s for YOU. It’s about the PROCESS, not the outcome.

So maybe somebody posts a gorgeous picture of, say, a robin. And you look at your drawing of a robin and think “Oh gosh, I’ll never be that good. It’s not even worth posting this.” But guess what? They’re probably not even in the same place as you. These are different events you’re observing.

And even if it is the same robin, they don’t have your brain. You notice different things than they do. You’re having different experiences. You have your own unique perspective to share.

To me, nature journaling is about going out and having an adventure. That’s it. However you like to do it, that’s great. And we want to hear about YOUR experience.

Because if YOU don’t tell your story, who will?

If you don’t tell the story of the places and creatures you love -- who will?

And who will care if they continue to exist?

Your imperfect, playful, messy page -- IT MATTERS. It’s your love letter to the world.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite poems, by Mary Oliver. “Instructions for Living a Life: Pay Attention. Be Astonished. Tell About it.” That’s what nature journaling is all about.

So go pay attention, find something that makes you feel astonished, and tell us all about it. I assure you, we want to hear your story -- no matter what format it’s in.

So why do YOU nature journal? What’s the “point” to you? Let’s start a conversation.

And if you’d like to try my free weekly nature journal writing workshop, to learn more about using WORDS to interact with the world, go to and click on Events → and then the Nature Journal Community Calendar. Or, click the link to get special access to the recordings before I get them up on Youtube.

See you later! Go have an adventure today.

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1 Comment

Dec 22, 2022

Thank you for this! Very comforting and encouraging words. I nature journal for myself and to leave a record of my local natural world.

Thank you for your blog, i just found it through your Chestnut workshop.


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