How to Teach Nature Journaling


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Note: At this time I am not selling and shipping copies of How to Teach Nature Journaling. Purchase a copy from Heyday Books (our wonderful publisher), Bookshop, Amazon, or your favorite local bookstore. For a free PDF download of the book, visit the website of my co-author John Muir Laws.

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31 hands-on field activities to connect art, science, math, and critical thinking and to show students and mentors alike how to recognize the wonder and intrigue all around them. Expanding on the philosophy and methods of The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling, John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren have developed an unparalleled and comprehensive guide to using nature journaling as a tool to engage young people with the outdoors. This teacher-friendly book combines curriculum plans, practical advice, and in-the-field experience so that educators of all stripes can bring journaling to their students or families. The approaches are designed to work in a range of ecosystems and settings, and are suitable for classroom teachers, outdoor educators, camp counselors, and homeschooling parents. Full-color illustrations and sample journal pages from notable naturalists and novices show how to put each lesson into practice. Published by Heyday Books

“Here is a natural way for parents and teachers to integrate the beauty and mystery of nature into the lives of children. The book itself is a work of art.”
—Richard Louv, author of Our Wild Calling and Last Child in the Woods

We are offering a free PDF download of the book to make the content as accessible as possible. If you are able to do so, we encourage you support our work as authors by purchasing a copy of the book and/or making a donation to our amazing publisher Heyday Books. We don’t recommend that you print the entirety of the PDF yourself, as doing so exceeds the cost of the book. Note: Shipping speed may be affected by COVID-19. Thank you for your understanding.


  • give students step-by-step strategies for effective nature journaling
  • manage student groups in the outdoors
  • encourage participation from all learners
  • modify instructions to meet your students’ needs
  • teach drawing, math, writing, and scientific thinking
  • connect journaling to educational standards
  • incorporate journaling into longer lessons

Can be used with

  • 5E Instructional Model
  • Charlotte Mason-Inspired Education
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • Waldorf Education, Forest Schools, Outdoor Education, and more

Praise for How to Teach Nature Journaling:

“This book beautifully demonstrates how nature journaling is a valuable, multidimensional approach to science. Through this work, students build neural pathways that enable different brain regions to communicate with each other, resulting in more flexible thinking and creative problem solving in all areas of life. This approach to nature journaling also offers students an excellent way to learn and practice a growth mindset through nature and science.”
—Jo Boaler, Professor of Education and Equity, Stanford University; author of Mathematical Mindsets and Limitless Mind

“The writing, the illustrations, the demonstration of an intentional, informative, and wonderfully educational approach to nature journal writing—it’s all here. From field activities with clear examples to an inquiry-based approach to learning, this book is a gem for educators, first-time journalers, and for the experienced naturalist as well. It’s art, it’s writing, it’s education, it’s science, naturally so.”
—José González, Founder of Latino Outdoors

“Engaging students in learning about nature is a compelling need in these turbulent times. Just as important is communicating clearly, precisely, and truthfully. Naturalists and educators John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren help teachers achieve these goals with How to Teach Nature Journaling. This is a wonderful response to educators’ request for meaningful ways to implement contemporary standards. The book is useful, full of activities, and manageable for classroom teachers.”
—Rodger W. Bybee, Executive Director, BSCS Science Learning (Retired)

“In How to Teach Nature Journaling, educators get best practices for facilitating intentional and inclusive strategies for nature journaling with students that can spark a life long wonder of the natural world.”
– Arvolyn Hill, Coordinator of Family Programs, New York Botanical Garden

“Imagine if every teacher taught nature journaling, every student spent enough time outside to fill a journal each year, and our kids were becoming writers, artists, and scientists all at once. I’d send my kid to that school. Thanks to Emilie Lygren and Jack Laws, we now have the vision and the tools to make this our reality.”
—Craig Strang, Associate Director, Lawrence Hall of Science

“Emilie and Jack have quite literally ‘thought of everything’ with this guide! Their attention to detail has created a masterful piece that outlines the skills and methods critical to making nature journaling with students successful. Their framework is tested and true, mirroring how we train our environmental educators to engage students in thoughtful and reflective journaling and deepen connections to the world around them.”
—Brianna Amingwa, Environmental Education Supervisor, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

How to Teach Nature Journaling offers step by step processes to reach all learners through shared experience. This can be a transformative way for students to learn to communicate and express how they view the natural world.”
-Michelle Peres, Environmental Educator, NatureBridge

“Nature journaling is the single most valuable tool and skill a teacher can possess and use to move the Next Generation Science Standards and environmental literacy forward in their school. You need to do this!”
—Rob Wade, Science & Outdoor Education Coordinator, Plumas Unified School District/Plumas County of Education

“Laws and Lygren have created a powerful and practical resource for teachers to help children and adults discover, explore, love, and protect the natural world around them. Nature is magic, and everyone needs it.”
–Robert Bateman, artist, naturalist, and founder of the Bateman Foundation

About The Authors

John Muir Laws is an award-winning scientist, educator, artist, and author of The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling and The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada, among other titles. For a wealth of nature journaling resources, visit

Facilitator, author, educator, and poet Emilie Lygren has cowritten dozens of outdoor science publications with the award-winning BEETLES Project and has published poems in a range of literary journals. For her outdoor science work, visit

Additional information

Weight 2.88 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 11 × 2 in


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