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Keeping a Seasonal Nature Journal

by Elizabeth Sniegocki


I love writing. I almost always have. I discovered my devotion to the craft at 10 years old, when my mother gave me a lock & key diary, in which I scribed the inner most secrets of a pre-teen girl. Though middle and high school, I filled notebooks with short stories, poetry, and prose. I then took my love of writing to college with me, where I earned a degree in journalism, and continued to find my voice on the blank page. Through my 20s, and now most of my 30s, I've continued to navigate life – including marriage and motherhood – using the written word as my compass. Journal writing has been a consistent outlet and a constant connection, bridging my inner and outer worlds.



As my journals have evolved over the years, I’ve experimented with many different types and styles. One of my favorites is the nature journal, a personal record of observations, perceptions, and reflections about the natural world. I believe I’m drawn to keeping a nature journal because it marries three of my true loves: writing, nature, and mindfulness. By recording what’s going on outside, right now, right where I am, I connect to my environment on a more meaningful level.



Keeping a seasonal nature journal can foster a deep sense of place, and help one to understand their role in that place. I live in the suburbs of a small beach town in Florida. Most would not recognize it to be winter here, with temperatures currently hitting record highs in the 80s! But through mindful observation, I've come to recognize (and appreciate) signs of the season here, in my place: the citrus trees are hanging low with fruit in my backyard, bearing sweet, juicy oranges.... the sun sets early in the evening over the icy-cold Gulf waters, followed by a cool, salty breeze.... hawks circle above the suburban streets in cloudless, blue skies.



Nature is everywhere! Our connections are endless, and flow from season to season, place to place. A nature journal gently, yet powerfully, grounds you in nature’s wonder.


Would you like to connect to your place in nature? Simply take a little time – it can be 10 minutes or an hour – to be present in nature and follow the exercise below. You'll emerge refreshed and recharged, with a heightened sense of place!


A Nature Journal Primer

Materials needed: blank book or blank paper, pen and/or pencil, colored pencils if desired.


  1. Go to a place in nature that intrigues you, or that you have easy access to. Or simply look out your window.
  2. Record the date, time, and place in your journal.
  3. Observe what's going on around you upon first glance. Use your senses: what do you see, hear, feel, smell, taste?
  4. Record your observations using words and drawings. Don't judge what you're doing - just do it. Work at your level of ability, and know that it's good enough.
  5. Now, reflect on what you've observed and recorded. How does it make you feel? Can you make any personal connections to this place and what's happening in it?
  6. Record your reflections in any way you like... make a list, write a poem, draw a picture. Let it flow naturally.
  7. Repeat this exercise as often as you can – in as many places as you like – and discover the magic of keeping a nature journal!


Want more? Join Elizabeth of A Natural Nester for a 6-week online course that will guide you through the basics of keeping a seasonal nature journal. Learn to record your observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you with: themed lessons on nature journaling ~ creative & seasonal writing prompts ~ exercises to connect you to the natural world ~ a supportive online community ~ resources, tips, and more!


“A Sense of Place ~ Keeping a Seasonal Nature Journal”

E-Course begins January 21st!


*Flexible pricing

* Work at your own pace


Get more details and register here:


 Elizabeth Sniegocki writes about creating a natural and mindful environment around you and within at A Natural Nester (www.NaturalNester.com). She offers everyday inspiration and informative feature articles on seasonal living, community building, conscious parenting, organic gardening, wholesome cooking, and more from her nest in Sarasota, Florida.

Reader Comments (1)

Thank you Elizabeth! So looking forward to participating in this journey with you all. :)
Jan 19, 2013 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterShelby

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