Nature Journal Kits to Share
It was our goal to reconnect with nature and to spend time appreciating Biodiversity, the outdoors and slowing down to sketch and document our findings, to find calm, joy and hope in the natural world. After many disruptions to in-person learning the last few years, it was exciting to have this opportunity to connect with the outdoors and to be able to share our love of nature and our wonderings with others. We were able to build connections with students on the west coast of James Bay. We were able to share our learning with them and they shared photographs and information about their local area and plants and animals.
“Nature journaling can be done just about anywhere, indoors or out. Wherever there is something living, you can begin to observe. You may feel, ‘How can I begin observing nature? I don’t know the answers to any questions. I don’t even know what questions to ask.’ We were all once beginners, barely knowing a robin from a sparrow. Your beginning questions may be very basic ones, such as ‘What season is it?’ Curiosity will lead you to answers.” – Clare Walker Leslie
“The wonderful ongoing adventure of nature journaling is learning about what you are drawing. Even more than becoming an artist of nature, you are becoming a naturalist. Your drawing reinforces your learning.” -Clare Walker Leslie
The LSF Youth Action Grant funded art materials and resources for the students to use to create nature journals; the hand bound journals include writing and art prompts, nature activities, student watercolour paintings of local species and information about local plants, animals and parks in our city. The students worked on teams as researchers, writers, visual artists, book makers and activity finders. Together they created Nature Journals to help other young people learn more about the natural world around them. The process was inspiring and exciting to watch as junior students shared their own observations and sightings and looked at their school grounds differently. They reconnected with nature and were excited by little things, turning over logs, digging in the dirt, following a snail’s trail, watching a bird’s nest, and new seedlings grow.
Our Nature Journals have been packaged along with art kits and field guides to share with children and youth at a local refugee centre in our city, and with some of the youth in a couple of the west coast communities of James Bay. New books about nature, and a few of our favourite novels* were also included in our packages so that we can share our love of reading, nature and place based learning with our friends in a few of the Cree communities on the west coast of James Bay. We have been learning about the environmental impacts of mining and The Ring of Fire on this area. We are hopeful that we will be able to share more of our observations and nature journaling with them and that they might have a chance to send us photos of their nature journal pages. Unfortunately this part of our project was delayed due to the significant amount of time that they were out of school this year in their community due to the pandemic.
We are also excited to share our Nature Journal Kits and new books with newcomers to Canada and hope that they will enjoy the project and share some of their favourite experiences of being in nature in the city.
(*Additional funds were donated by community members to purchase these books to extend our project.)
Reflection & Celebration
We participated in 3 outdoor education field trips throughout the school year where we tested water for human impact, worked on team challenges, a low ropes course, had a campfire, observed and identified local species of animals and plants and created watercolour paintings. Our recent trip was to the Toronto Islands where we enjoyed watching frogs, snakes, birds, soaked in the sun and the Cherry Blossoms, painted and ran through a cedar maze.
We are excited to share our Nature Journal Kits.