Creating a Rock Nature Journal

Creating a Rock Nature Journal

From the Newsletter Archives (January 2013)

During July 2012, our family took a trip to the Oregon Coast. We spent quite a bit of time just beachcombing for shells and rocks. I ended up with a collection that I wanted to record in my nature journal.

McVay Rock tidepools and rocks (7)

Rocks in general are a difficult subject to draw. I decided that the colorful rocks were much easier and that using a black pen to first outline the shape was helpful.

Oregon Rock Nature Journal

Recording rocks in your nature journal requires you to slow down and really examine the rock, noting its colors, shape, and texture.

collecting rocks baggie

I find it’s much easier to collect a few rocks and then bring them home for sketching. I have a stash of snack size Ziplocs in my nature box that I recycle from trip to trip. You can also use empty Tic-Tac or Altoid containers if you have a supply of those. We did use film canisters in the past but now that’s sort of outdated.

Greenwood river quartz rock collection

Sometimes you find a rock you want to draw in your nature journal but you cannot bring a sample home…like if you’re at a National Park or on private property. In that case, I take a few close-up images of the rock with my camera. Then I either use the image to draw the rock into my journal or I can just print out the image and put that in my journal.

I love looking back on these rock nature journal pages now and remembering not only the rocks but the experience of collecting them on a particular day.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Rock Study Marble Calcite Limestone @handbookofnaturestudy

Take the opportunity to create a few rock themed nature journal pages as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge for Calcite, Limestone, and Marble (make a link) from last week. Click over and read how to get started.


Rock Study: Calcite, Limestone, Marble Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Rock Study: Calcite, Limestone, Marble Nature Study

Most families that have been taking time for nature study have no doubt started an official or unofficial rock collection. I know when my boys were young, they would fill my pockets with rock treasures on our nature walks and then insist I take them home for our nature table. So many rocks!

rock collection in jars

I must admit that I still collect rocks! You may wish to read this entry that shares 5 ways to organize rock collections: 5 Ways to Display Rock Collections.

Use this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge to learn a bit about rocks that you may already have in your collection. Or use the information and videos in the original challenge to build enthusiasm for a rock hunt soon.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Rock Study Marble Calcite Limestone @handbookofnaturestudy

View the original challenge here: Outdoor Hour Challenge – Calcite, Limestone, Marble.

Rock Study Up close Notebook page

If you have access to the ebook, there is a general rock activity on page 39 that everyone can use: Rocks Up Close printable. Take this notebook page along with you this week during your Outdoor Hour Challenge and see how many things you can find.

Newsletter Resources: Members also have access to the two newsletters in the archives that feature rock nature studies: January 2013 and February 2016.

Under a Rock Notebook Page

Alternate Study: Members can download and print the Under a Rock Notebook Page. Find a rock, turn it over and then observe what you can find underneath. This is a fun activity with or without the notebook page.

Handbook of Nature Study Autumn Nature Study 2015 Cover Image

Sample to view: Outdoor Hour Challenge Autumn Nature Study 2015 Sample Pages

If you don’t have a membership yet, click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 26 ebooks and so much more! Remember that all levels, even the Discovery level membership, include access to all of the archived newsletters!

Topics in this ebook include:

  • Swallows and swifts
  • Catfish
  • Jewelweed
  • Prickly lettuce
  • Cockroach
  • Field horsetail
  • Catbird
  • Calcite, limestone, marble
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Hedgehog fungi
  • Sapsucker
  • Brooks

  Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020



Nature Journal Project: Trace an Object – From the Archives

Once a Month Nature Journal Project

Trace an Object – From the Archives

I understand how difficult it is to stare at a blank page in a nature journal. This month’s suggestion may just help you get over that apprehension by allowing you to just trace an object you find during your outdoor time.

Trace a birch leaf nature journal (2)

Tracing an object helps us get over the fear of not sketching it “right”.

Use the ideas from the archives listed below to use in your nature journal this month.

Once a Month Nature Journal Project Trace an Object @handbookofnaturestudy

Nature Journal Page Ideas:

  • Gather several smaller items to trace for your nature journal. Look for a collection of items from one subject like a leaf, small cone, an acorn, or a seed pod from a backyard tree.
  • Trace the outline of an item and then use the shape to contain your journal writing.
  • Trace the outline with pencil and then use watercolors or crayons to finish up the artwork.
  • Challenge your older children to trace an item and then fill in with as much detail as possible.

Trace a birch leaf nature journal (2)

If you need more inspiration, I created a Pinterest board that gathers dozens of actual nature journal pages from participants.

Complete list of all the Once a Month Nature Journal Project Ideas

Getting Started with Nature Journals