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Nature Journaling

Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

― Mary Oliver

Shaver’s Creek’s nature journaling programs bring together a diverse community of naturalists and artists, of all levels, who meet regularly to connect with nature and each other through art. Programs include field trips, technique workshops, and community events that help participants develop artistic and naturalist skills, explore local parks and open spaces, and deepen their love of nature. Programs are intergenerational and family-friendly. Adults are encouraged to bring children who express genuine interest in nature drawing and to monitor their behavior. Youth participants must be accompanied by an adult participant. Older adults are encouraged to participate.

What is Nature Journaling?

Nature journaling is collecting and organizing your observations, questions, connections, and explanations on the pages of a notebook using words, pictures, and numbers. You do not need to be an artist or a naturalist to begin. These skills can be learned by anyone, and you can develop them with deliberate practice. The system is creative, rigorous, and playful, easy to begin and learn, and will grow and mature over a lifetime. Start now: you can do this, and the world is waiting.

— John Muir Laws, leading nature journal educator and founder of the first Nature Journal Club

Supplies You’ll Need

A journal or notebook (we recommend medium-sized with blank pages), a pencil (a standard, yellow, #2 works great), a pen (ballpoint is fine), coloring utensils of your choosing (colored pencils, watercolor, markers, crayons). The only other requirements are curiosity, a growth mindset, and a desire to learn!

For further recommendations on supplies and equipment for nature journaling, check out John Muir Laws’ equipment list.

Upcoming Events

Community Nature Journaling

When: October 29, 2022, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

Community Nature Journaling

When: November 19, 2022, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: Penn State Herbarium

Community Nature Journaling

When: December 17, 2022, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: Rhoneymeade

Program Offerings

Community Nature Journaling

Monthly, in-person, in-the-field nature journaling outings

We begin each outing by inviting participants to introduce themselves to the gathered community, and we conclude each outing by sharing our learnings and reflecting together. Activities include technique demonstrations, natural history interpretation, and plenty of time to draw and write. These events typically occur on the last Saturday of the month (excepting holidays and other Shaver’s Creek events). 

Most outings will include easy to moderate walking. If field trips are wheelchair accessible or may require more strenuous hiking, they will be described as such in that month’s program description. All ages, families, and individuals are welcome! These events run rain or shine, so check the weather and be prepared with appropriate clothing, umbrellas, and boots accordingly!

Nature Journaling Workshops

These sessions introduce participants to diverse nature journaling techniques to develop skills in observation, curiosity, and documentation. Offered virtually and in-person, workshops often feature local artists, naturalists, authors, and scientists. 

After-School Nature Journal Club

Weekly sessions introduce young students to nature journaling skills and techniques, while cultivating community with a small and consistent group of peers. Nature journaling integrates science, math, writing, and art and supports deeper observation, curiosity, and connection to the natural world. 

Meet the Staff

Alexa Sarussi

Alexa develops and coordinates Shaver’s Creek’s nature journaling programs. She grew up in the suburban desert of Phoenix, Arizona, and studied biology at Pomona College before discovering her love of the seasons and the forests in Pennsylvania. Alexa is passionate about learning through community, and one of her favorite things about nature journaling is learning new ways to see and record the world from her fellow journalers, both young and old. She loves how nature journaling nurtures curiosity and encourages us to get comfortable with asking questions without seeking the answers immediately, or maybe ever!