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Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You Paperback – September 1, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A wonderful book for young people, this book has also inspired this old gardener to go out and get one of those nice new sketchbooks ... The New York Times

Leslie s approachable methods for recording the natural world have inspired many people. New Orleans Times-Picayune

... a step-by-step guide to getting started in a fascinating hobby of recording on paper what you see in nature. Cleveland Plain Dealer

[C]oaches even beginners who think they cannot write or sketch but simply have a love of nature. San Jose Mercury News

... an excellent teaching tool on how to go about seeing the world in a new way. Indianapolis Star

This book was very motivating for me personally and I am ready to begin a nature journal.  It could be used as a classroom supplement or a tool for personal professional development for all ages ... a good resource for informal science organizations such as museums and camps.   NSTA Recommends (National Science Teachers Association)

Here s a good gift book for gardeners, but also for non-gardeners who nevertheless enjoy communing with the great outdoors. Nashville Tennessean

Learn to observe nature closely, sketch with confidence, keep accurate records, narrate the changing seasons, and more.  Highly recommended for those interested in art journals or nature studies. --Somerset Studio magazine

From the Inside Flap

Like a string of beads - or pearls these little - or grand - episodes help us link to the larger strand. This stringing of images, thoughts, connections, helps us to have more understanding, reason, compassion, gratefulness. - Clare Walker Leslie, journal entry, September 3, 1997

You can experience a spirited yet tranquil exploration of the living world by creating your own nature journal. In any season, any weather, and any place, nature journaling compels us to slow down, observe, reflect, and once again embrace our connection to the living mosaic that is our environment.

Using the methods Clare Walker Leslie and Chuck Roth have developed over years of journaling teaching, "Keeping a Nature Journal" guides you in creating ongoing journals for all seasons and purposes. You'll also learn techniques from other amateur and professional nature journalists.

Simple methods for capturing what you see in sketches and words will inspire you to make journaling a part of your daily life and will help you create journals to enjoy for years to come.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 2 edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580174930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580174930
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I coordinate outdoor workshops for women to provide them the opportunity to learn new skills. We hosted a new class,Nature Journaling, and the instructor needed a book to suplement her curriculum. I selected this book based on the Amazon recomendations and further research. Both the instructor and participants loved the book. It was very helpful and useful once they left the workshop.
I think this book is a great resource in any EE/nature/writing library.
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Format: Paperback
Not a journaling guide but an inspiration to draw and record in a journal. Her artwork and ability to capture the moment is simply amazing - and should be since she is a professional artist. Better than the pictures is her persuasion that you can also draw and record the world around you. Many types of journals are discussed with suggestions of organization, etc but the strength is not the information but the encouragement to DO.

If you are interested in scientific journaling, or looking for an instruction manual I do not think you'll be happy with this book. It is light on drawing technique but heavy on simple tips to get you drawing. If you desire to draw nature and record what you see/experience but don't think you can or are afraid of what your pictures will look like this will be a book you'll treasure and refer to often.
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Format: Paperback
I started keeping a written journal to record events in my family life and the nature around us a few years ago. I found it difficult to keep up and ended up with a backlog of things to write about - it was tedious trying to catch up and the entries failed to convey the moments when recorded so long after. Then I found this book at the library and I ended up taking it our so many times I just bought it. After a few false starts, I started last year creating a sketch journal. At first it was just quick sketches that didn't look like much that I wanted to tear out, but I found a remarkable thing - just the process of doing the sketches seemed to indelibly write that memory into my brain (I have photos that I can't remeber ever taking).
Since then my sketches have been getting better and I've added colored pencil to them and write short descriptions around them instead of pages of prose. I am hooked now and have signed up for a watercolor class. I love this book and take it out and just thumb through it sometimes when i get stressed out. I am sure that I will do the same with my journals and hope my son will look through them someday for memories of his childhood. I have been encouraging him (he's 9 now) to start his own sketch jounal and he has been.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book unseen hoping to get some good ideas for a curriculum development project for elementary school kids I'm working on. I wasn't disappointed. This is a beautiful book. It's well written by 2 authors who are obviously passionate about the subject matter. Reproductions of Leslie's journal pages throughout the book also help you see the sorts of things that are possible and are a real inspiration. Her images are often quickly drawn and a little on the rough side, suggesting that anyone with a few minutes, a few colored pencils, a blank book, and a love for nature is capable of making a gorgeous nature journal. The book covers ideas for how to start a nature journal, the kinds of equipment you need, things you might want to keep an eye out for, and suggestions for improving your artistic skills. As I'd hoped, there is also a section for eductators who wish to use nature journals to teach people, young and old, about nature and the environment in which they live.

This book contains a lot of great information and the images from Leslie's journals are amazing. I think anyone who is into nature journals (as I am) would appreciate this book, as well as those who wish to start one.
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Format: Paperback
"Drawing even the little things helps to focus the mind, calm the spirit. There's always something to be drawn."

These simple words from author Clare Walker Leslie gave me the extra boost needed to buy this incredible book. I was already taken by the illustrations, as their gestural lines and coloring recalled the Vermont Nature Guide that I loved so much. Could I use drawing as a new way to record the world around me?

In my past, drawing was either a class exercise or an imaginative exploration. I have kept writing journals which occasionally led to drawing, but I was always critical of my drawing for not capturing what I saw. I'm not as worried about that now because this book is filled with tips on how to draw, what to focus on, and how to see the beauty in things. Like the deciduous trees drawing exercise alone helped me break down something big and detailed (aka scary) into five easy steps - 1) observe its shape 2) quickly sketch its contour 3) start drawing from the base 4) pick out some parts of the tree like buds and fruits to draw but bunch leaf masses so it doesn't overwhelm you 5) shade the tree in a ring to give it roundness.

If you are looking for ways to connect with nature, on your own or with a class, this book has so much to offer!
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Format: Paperback
Our family loves this book - we love the examples from actual nature journals and it has really inspired myself and my children to keep our own nature journals. As we do so, we come to have a better appreciation for the amazing creations all around us. The author really helps to encourage even budding artists to keep nature journals, which helps some of the more timid artists in our family.
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