There is so much to do in so little time, isn’t just getting outside enough?
Why pile something else onto our already full plates?
Sure! Getting outside a few times a week is great, and its importance should not be diminished by any means, so why bother with adding nature journaling to our outdoor time?
In the words of naturalist Thomas E. Smith, PhD:
“Experience without words is just experience.
Words without experience are just words.”
Include drawing and art into that quote and you get the essence of why I encourage nature journaling for all humans as a way to creatively connect and build deep lasting loving relationships with our natural world.
Sure, each time we venture into nature, big or small, we are impacted, but when we can assimilate those experiences through images and words, written and spoken, we begin to form bonds and understand the natural world, and our roles within it, more fully.
As adults, when we understand our ecological relationships and identities, we can help children do the same. In my over 20 years teaching, I’ve found that nature journaling, using both pictures and words, is an incredible and effective way to embrace ourselves as part of the amazing web of life. Embodying our roles in nature and deepening our place connections gives us strength — physically, psychologically, and energetically.
There is plenty research out there showcasing the ways that regular nature experience improves health, mood, behavior, productivity, academic achievements, and more, but when we look at the benefits regular creative nature connections bring to our spirit and quality of life, we begin to really see and feel the ways that nature impacts our everyday lives.
As Rachel Carson reminds us:
“It is not half so important to know as to feel.”
Nature Journaling, and nature inspired art, opens us up to creative flow. It encourages us slow down and become quiet observers. It gives us a place to assimilate our experiences and to ponder questions for later answers. It allows us to embrace our genetic heritage as a species evolved from, and continually supported by, the Earth’s beauty and bounty. Nature inspired art making clears the way for our senses of wonder to bloom.
Drawing nearby nature (that’s the nature in your immediate environment) helps us to really understand the subtleties of nature in a way only careful focused observation can. Incorporating thoughts, questions, and observations to the art, and then sharing those with friends and family makes the nature art experience more holistic and our connections deeper.
I invite you to get out there. Start drawing and writing about your nature experiences big and small, near and far. From a weed busting up through the sidewalk by your apartment to your vacation to Yosemite, observe and explore your relationship with it. Let nature art journaling bring fullness to your everyday experience. Give yourself time to wonder at the little things — like the “chip chip” communications between the cardinal pair as they look for seeds outside your window or the blooms on a magnolia tree.
If you’re seeking a little guidance as you embark on your creatively nature connection journey, crave more creative community, or simply want some nature inspired fun, join me in my upcoming June 22 class at Cultivate “Painting Watercolor Botanical Wreaths”. I would be honored to be your guide!
(This is an adult class, but children 12-14 are welcome to join with a participating adult.)
Learn more about Kelly and her quest to keep humans creatively connected to nature at wingswormsandwonder.com and on Instagram @wingswormsandwonder