Keeping a Nature Journal – Review

Keeping a Nature Journal Review @handbookofnaturestudy

Keeping a Nature Journal is a book that many of us own and is sitting on our shelf. It may also be a book that you have looked at online, have seen others using, or actually paged through at a bookstore. It is a familiar book that I have a love/hate relationship because of the perceived expectation that it creates for journalers.

Many of us struggle with perfection. We think that a nature journal should be a place of beauty and value…which I agree with wholeheartedly. But, it also can be a place that we experiment and mess up from time to time. A smear here or a misspelled word or funky drawing we don’t like can also appear on a nature journal page. Those “mess ups” shouldn’t keep us from striving to create pages on a regular basis.

This book, Keeping a Nature Journal, is a tool like so many other tools we use in our family’s nature study. It contains a wealth of ideas that you can pick and choose to use as the spirit inspires you. Don’t let the great page examples overwhelm or discourage but allow them to create a reservoir of ideas to use over the years as you fill your nature journal.

Keeping a Nature Journal Ideas @handbookofnaturestudy

Quick Thoughts About the Book- note page numbers are from the first edition.

  • This is a book for all ages to use as they learn to keep a nature journal.
  • You will find ideas for using a nature journal in all curriculum areas on page 165 (A Curriculum Web for Nature Journaling).
  • The “Getting Started with Drawing” section (pages 139-153) would be a wonderful basis for an art course using nature as your subject.
  • I found the section titled, “Subjects to Observe, Draw, Record throughout the Seasons”, to be a wonderful inspiration and I intend to refer to it for my own use. Each season is listed in the chart along with ideas for drawing birds, animals, plants and trees, weather and sky, and seasonal celebrations.
  • ***I see the second edition of this book has an expanded section showing more of Claire’s actual journal pages.

Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth gives this long term nature journal mom so fresh ideas that I can’t wait to use in the up-coming summer season.

Are you making your nature journal your sidekick this summer?

Nature Book Project 2015 @handbookofnaturestudy

Previous Month’s Books and Reviews



  1. Thanks for the ideas, Barb. I’ve had it on the shelf for a few years and keep meaning to get it down & do something with it. Thanks for the nudge!

    • Barb McCoy says:

      I think it is a bit overwhelming. But, just pick one of the ideas and get started…that is what I am going to do. :)

  2. I got this book at the library and I also felt the same way about it. I felt a bit discouraged by all the amazing art work. My nature journal is not at all what I would like it to be. However I also try not to compare or feel bad about it. I find that at this stage in my life my journal is often very rushed due to having an active preschooler., and on top of that I just don’t have the artistic talent that I wish I would have. However I would rather do something than nothing and the only way to gain skill in becoming more artistic is to practice. I have actually started to do a lot more writing in my nature journal. For example making a list of all the sights and sounds that we saw and heard outside in simple dot jot and doing a fancy title and maybe a drawing. My kids really love it when I work in my journal. I think it inspires them even more and so even though its not perfect and its often rushed (and yesterday I spelled something wrong in my title!) its worth it and I love the memories it brings back when I read it of all the great things we’ve done outside. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Barb McCoy says:

      I totally agree that doing something is better than nothing. I love looking back at my pages from years ago and even if they aren’t perfect and the sketches are a little awkward, I thoroughly enjoy it. Keep at it!

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