Connecting with the Environment through Nature Journaling

Thursday, Friday 8:30am-11:30am Science Village 10


Barbra Sobhani, University of Colorado at Boulder

This workshop will guide participants through the process of incorporating nature journaling into their curriculum. We will discuss ways to blend reflective writing, field notetaking and sketching to enhance student learning. We will also be putting in the pencil miles, practicing sketching techniques for all types of natural subjects. No prior art background is required. By the end of the workshop, participants will have developed a plan for incorporating this practice into their own work and courses. We will learn basic art skills and approaches to a variety of subjects, engage in reflective writing, and data collection to create a series of journaling pages.


From capturing quick sketches of the environment, to producing a detailed field drawing of an outcrop, illustration can be used in many ways across disciplines. Nature journaling has become a popular pastime during the pandemic and it is a great way to build confidence and comfort with the process of drawing in the field. There are many ways to incorporate scientific content and observations into a nature journal. Drawing can be an intimidating topic, but this workshop will practice some strategies that help get students (and teachers!) more comfortable with putting pencil to paper. No art background required, we will dive into drawing tips and techniques.

If you have a nature journal already, please bring it to work in or share!

Target Audience

This workshop is designed for educators of all disciplines. Observation skills, basic drawing practice, and ways of visually representing data in the field are all elements that can be incorporated into a wide range of classes. It can also be used for personal nature observing as well.


  • Develop a method for observing and recording the natural world.
  • Understand the fundamental principles and practices of nature journaling and be able to communicate its value to students.
  • Practice activities and put pencil to paper!
  • Develop strategies for incorporating journaling and field sketching as a reflective tool.
  • Become part of a network of educators interested in nature journaling.


Each day will include a warm up journaling activity, an introduction to the topic(s) for the day, technique demonstrations, field practice and participants working on materials for their own classes, and a final opportunity for reflection about the morning's tasks.


Fill out the End of Workshop Evaluation


Day 1 Presentation (Acrobat (PDF) 9.1MB Jul14 23)

Nature Journaling and Field Notetaking.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 6.5MB Jul15 22)

Free Nature Journaling Curriculum:

Free online lessons and workshop recordings

pHet simulations

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