Grinnell System – Field Journal

Nature journal page 18 april 2021
Nature (field) journal 18 april 2021 of Ostrich Fern

A field journal is what professional naturalists and biologists use. It is a nature journal which uses the scientific method.

What You Use it For

  • It is where you write out your field experiences and observations in a diary-like format.
  • The entries are written in complete sentences and narrate what was observed.
  • It is drawn from the notes taken in the field notebook. You basically take the scribbled notes and partial sentences of your notebook and turn them into full coherent sentences.
  • It is ideally written in the afternoon or evening of the observation. Don’t let too much time past (even 24 hours) before writing. Memories fade very quickly.
  • It includes information gathered based on the observation checklist and what you observed. Also how you did something, such as finding tracks and signs, where you looked for plants and animals.

Format for the Field Journal

Write on only one side of the paper. Usually the right side.

This leaves the left side for maps, photos, sketches that complement what is written on the right page.

If you are left- handed you can reverse this.

The book usually covers one calendar year.

What Kind of Book Works?

The journal can be in many forms. The original form Grinnell recommended was a 6X9 loose-leaf notebook. But, 6X9 loose-leaf paper that doesn’t yellow is hard to find. I tend to like a hardbound, Moleskine Ruled Notebook Large( Affiliate link to ) Probably because at the end of the year. I have a pretty illustrated book. 

Buy a Guide to the Grinnell System

My book on using the Grinnell Scientific Nature Journal method is available through Read more about it Grinnell Scientific Nature Journal (PDF and Paperback)

More on the Grinnell System

Grinnell Method for Nature Journals

Grinnell System Field Journal

Grinnell Field Notebook

Catalog for the Grinnell System

Species Account of Grinnell System


We're Listening

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.