Prompts, Benefits, and Joys of Enjoying a Deeper Connection with Your Surroundings
Nature Journaling is a fun and engaging activity that has the potential to strengthen your connection to nature. It is simply the practice of using nature as your muse. A journal dedicated to recording your observations, thoughts, and feelings about what you see in nature. There is no right or wrong way to journal making this activity uniquely your own.
The benefits of time spent in nature are many, and journaling is a way to capture those feelings. The practice of taking time to appreciate the details of the experience not only calms the mind but gives you a deeper understanding of the world around you.
Little insights add up, and as your recognition of different plants and animals improves so will your understanding of the land you stand on.
Think of your last visit with nature. What stands out to you?
- Morning light shone through the trees to illuminate the forest floor.
- Two Squirrels arguing over an afternoon treat.
- The timeless serenity of a glacier lake.
- Birds singing messages to each other.
- A decaying log hosting hundreds of tiny orange mushrooms.
- The roaring sound of a waterfall silencing the world around it.
- The Cascading snow top mountains.
Nature journaling is a way to recall the subtle observations of these moments that might otherwise be lost. Moments that inspire you and offer a door to creativity or be used as an ongoing scientific adventure that records facts of the date and time taken. The possibilities are endless.
Journaling while in nature is also a reminder to slow down and enjoy the scenery. It’s so easy to forget the beautiful setting we are anchored in and get lost in the aerobic activity of hiking. This mindful activity reminds us to slow down and tune in to the wonderful world around us.
All journals are essentially an extension of who you are and how you see and interact with the world around you. No two journals will be alike because we all observe from our own perspectives.
How to Begin
Journalling is about insights and exploring your connection to the world. For some people that might mean drawing, and for others, it might mean writing. You might be more of a tree identifier and I might be more of a mushroom seeker. Nature journaling captures what you see. It’s a way to combine the benefits we get mentally from being in nature and from journaling.
There is no “how-to” when it comes to this mindful activity because there are so many routes a person can take. Don’t overthink it, just start with what feels most natural to you.
Here are some ideas to help get your senses to sharpen on the right path for you.
When you’re out on your next nature adventure pay close attention to your observations.
- What stands out for you?
- What’s the weather like?
- What do you smell?
- What sounds do you hear?
- Do you tend to notice critters? Or are you more interested in plants?
- Are you more of an observer? Or are you a textile seeker?
Starting to note what you are attracted to can make this exercise more inviting and keep you active on the journey. Another way to get started is to think about how you will journal. Here are some ideas if you’re still feeling stuck.
- Sketching what you see
- Writing poetry about how the scenery makes you feel
- Pressing leaves and flowers for data
- Lists of animals observed
- Drawings of wild berries
- Noticing patterns in the scenery
- What to forage and when.
Any way you decide to begin is perfect. It might shift and move as you grow in the practice and that’s perfect too.
On Sunday, July 10th the Amazing Jessica Winters is going to be guiding a Nature Journaling class as part of Breathe in Nature.
The event starts early so we can beat the heat and the crowds as we gather at Lake Desire at 8am. We will start with a short hike and find a place to settle in and breathe in nature: Connecting you to your surroundings and opening your five senses. After which Jessica will take the lead and guide you with queues to help your creative juices flow.
Today, certified by NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute for Wilderness First Aid, Jessica enjoys educating in many ways. As a yoga teacher, offering wilderness yoga retreats and leading motivational and inspirational mountaineering experiences.
Combining her two loves, yoga and mountaineering, has been life-changing for Jessica. She is a natural-born teacher so sharing these two paths has brought passion to her life.
Jessica launched her own business, Wilderness Adventure Yoga, and hasn’t looked back since. She is a great organizer of professionals so she can host retreats through places like Alaska and the Grand Canyon.
Journaling in Nature has brought great insight and richness to Jessica’s wilderness adventures. In 2007 she completed the Triple Crown of mountaineering having hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental divide trail. Her journals of these adventures keep them not only close to the heart but also intertwined into the details. With thousands of miles logged in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains here in Washington as well as across Iceland, and submitted both Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro.
Jessica has formed her own relationship with her journals as well as the nature that surrounds her and she is still excited about all that this journey uncovers along the way.
You do not want to miss this unique opportunity to meet Jessica and hear her story as you begin to dive into your own nature journaling experience.
Ready to sign up? Head over to Breathe in Nature for all the details.