“Today I saw…” – Nature Journaling

Hello, it’s matt here.

There’s a real joy in seeing the first signs of spring. Lesser celandine creates a beautiful display of yellow stars along the river bank after what often feels like a long and grey winter, the first song of returning migrants like the chiff-chaff chewing through its two-note performance. The Marsham family (link – https://academic.oup.com/jxb/article/61/11/2853/440390) must have thought something similar and for a whopping 211 years recorded “indications of spring” – a collection of information on the first time they saw a range of different plants as they came into flower that year – until they were told they were no longer of use.

But this type of anecdotal evidence gave birth to a study known as ‘phenology’ – where we examine the effect of environmental changes on nature which is extremely important as we experience the effects of climate breakdown (if only the Marsham family had continued!!).

Keeping a nature jounal has an added benefit of helping us remember what we’ve seen that day, taking an opportunity to savour our favourite moments and if we’re ever feeling a bit depleted we can even look back on it in years to come and remember “that time I saw…”.

Our friends at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust have made this great video for nature journaling with kids

But if I’m truly honest, despite loving seeing nature and talking about it ALOT, I don’t actually keep one myself so I’m going to challenge myself to keep one for a week and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’s a few ideas of what I might include in mine –

  • Date, time and location
  • What was it, how many?
  • How were they behaving?
  • A small sketch of what it looked like.

Here’s a page from Sally’s for inspiration