Last year I introduced you to Lara Gastiger and her inspiring nature journals and beautiful botanical artwork.
“I encourage everyone to obtain a blank journal that is a portable size and proceed to date the pages so that each spread represents a week. All you need is to write or draw an observation each week. This could be as elaborate as a full drawing or just a note. Be sure to include all relevant information (date, weather, who you are with, what do you hear/see) and then next year on that week, you will return to the same page and add something else. It becomes so rich as the years build up upon each other and you will become so knowledgable about the plants around you!
“What an inspiration, but what is a perpetual nature journal?” you may ask.
A perpetual journal is nature journal that you keep coming back to, year after year, adding new sketches and notes to the same week and month’s pages until you have the most wonderful collection of nature entries spanning all the seasons over several years!
As I pondered this, I realized that there are several joys to working in a perpetual journal ~
- A perpetual journal makes such a lot of sense! This gradual approach reveals your personal, accumulative journey of nature study over the years, displaying all the details you noticed in each season. (Just remember that the photo above is Lara’s perpetual nature journal pages after adding to them for 16 years!)
- What is even better is that you don’t have to fill a full nature journal page! Each week, just add a small sketch or some field notes or observations noted for that week, and your entry is done. Simple and doable, don’t you agree?
- Instead of spending a long time trying to fill a whole page, by devoting the same time to a journal entry, you can create very intricate sketches and detailed, accurate observations, like Lara!
- When you return to the same week’s page spread the next year, your pages will already have some evidence of things you journaled in the previous year at the same time. These permanent records, along with your new entries, further highlight and emphasize what happens in that season, at that time of the year. (I suppose though, that if you moved to a completely different zone or region, you would have to consider starting a new perpetual journal to keep track of nature in this new area.)
- This approach is very similar to Charlotte Mason‘s practice of keeping a “Calendar of Firsts“. ( I hope to share more on this in an upcoming post.)
- This practice fits perfectly in with Barb of Handbook of Nature Study’s Outdoor Mom Journal nature journal prompts each month. Again, small weekly sketches and notes to the same journal pages give you the freedom to create a wonderful, detailed nature journal through the years.
- Moms, I really encourage you to keep your own perpetual nature journal and purpose to spend time each week making your own nature journal entries as a part of developing “Mother Culture®“. It may not seem like it now, when you are deep in the homeschool trenches with littlies underfoot, but in a flash, your children will be in high school and your time will open up for more personal growth, and this practice may well become a fulfilling lifestyle even when your children have graduated and moved on.
- Your nature journal eventually becomes a marvellous, rich collection that will amaze and please you every time you come back to that page spread.
Please join me next time as I plan to share on how to make your own perpetual nature journal.