Grinnell Field Notebook

Grinnell style field notebook

What is a Field Notebook?

A field notebook is a small shirt-pocket-sized memo pad where you record your nature observations.

It is carried on field trips, hikes and while sitting in your backyard. It is a handy way to record what you see and to always have something to write in your nature journal. I always have mine with me.

Using a Field Notebook

I take mine on fast-moving birding walks with my birding group. I list birds seen and other observations.

It is your primary note receptacle. It can contain all sorts of notes such as directions, nature observations, books to read, anything you want.

Keeping it with you allows you to take notes while you are observing. Memories can be inaccurate.

Later you may ask yourself was the hawk’s eye yellow or red? Had the American Goldfinch’s plumage turned from summer breeding to drab winter colors?

A memo pad fills up quickly. I go through several each year. When you fill up one, file it away. From the memo pad, a full account of your observations are written in the field journal.

Observation Hints and Tips

  • date every page
  • include your name, permanent address, telephone and email on the inside front cover
  • write or tape the daily observation checklist on the back cover


More links for the Grinnell Scientific Checklist

Grinnell Method for Nature Journals

Grinnell System Field Journal

Using a Field Notebook for Nature Journaling

Using a Species Account

Using a Catalog – The Grinnell Method


My Book on the Grinnell System – available in pdf and paperback.

cover_Grinnell Scientific Nature Journal


  1. Can you provide an example of the “daily observation checklist”? Thank you!

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