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International Nature Journaling Week 2023 Reflections

I really enjoyed the theme this year of sensory safari, with particular favourites being colour (Day 1) and heart (Day 7).
Nature Journaling Week
Join us for International Nature Journaling Week (1-7 June) to celebrate nature connection and find joy in the small things!

This is now the 4th year of INJW, and I love how each time it inspires me to do more regular nature journaling and to go back to the basics and rediscover the simplicity of the activity. The sense of community at the live events and on social media (and this year the Padlet) is always uplifting and makes me feel proud to continue to be a part of.

I always seem to be 'busy' with other projects or life events (this time it was moving house) and can't quite get prepared for the week's events as I do for Inktober, for example. Nonetheless it doesn't require much preparation and I was able to nature journal following each day's prompts (although I did have to catch up the weekend days I missed) and attend two of the live workshops. The ones I missed I look forward to watching later in my own time.

I really enjoyed the theme this year of sensory safari, with particular favourites being colour (Day 1) and heart (Day 7). I want to explore more layered landscapes in future and got into the flow when creating the page for heart with a poem and watercolour pencil sketch. I recognised that the aroma and flavour senses are probably my weakest and I'd like to practice them more often.

For Day 6: Movement I created a video with ideas for nature journaling your own body in movement. On the day itself I decided to journal after my morning yoga. I also feel inspired to try other movement-related nature journaling in future such as characterising bird's flight (e.g. the lorikeets linear rocket propulsion compared to the black cockatoos erratic and undulating beat).

Reflecting on the pages and purpose

Most of these pages are "quick and messy" - my style when I just want to do nature journaling and don't necessarily care about the outcome. When it's more important to put pen to paper because my purpose of nature journaling then, even if its just writing a few dot points, was about connecting with nature every day to restart the regular habit. However, I realised that I find that connection more easily, i.e. get into the flow, when I slow down - and usually for me that means drawing in more detail.

Here's a comparison table of advantages of the two styles:

Quick and messy Slow and detailed
Capture fast-moving subjects Get into flow state more easily
Achieve something in a short time Looks aesthetically pleasing
Easier to develop and maintain regular habit Easier to connect with nature

Now there are exceptions to these - for instance I'm sure it's possible to create aesthetically pleasing fast sketches, but in general I'd say if you put more time into it, there's a higher chance of it looking better. I've also noticed I can quickly get into the flow with a fast-moving subject - it just depends if it stays!💨 Can you think of any more advantages for the two styles?

Have I kept up the regular habit after INJW? Not quite, but I have a subject lined up once it stops raining and I've been catching up on the last of the 2022 Wild Wonder recorded videos. I feel mentally as if I'm back, now to actually get the hands moving too! Hopefully next year I'll already be in the habit and better prepared.


What did you think of this year's theme? Let me know in the comments your favourite day or activity from the week. Did you have any realisations from your pages?