The Grinnell System has helped me become a better naturalist.
I’ve been keeping a naturalist’s journal for a long time. But a year or so ago, I felt my journal writing had stagnated and needed a boost. I went searching for a way to make my nature journaling more thorough.
What I found was this method.
The Grinnell Method Explained
The method is designed to aid a scientific investigation. It is the method most often used by professional biologists and field naturalists.
The method was developed by Joseph Grinnell (1877-1939), a field naturalist, teacher and the first director of the University of California’s Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. He taught this method to his students and used a variation of the system himself.
The method consists of four parts:
•a field notebook – to directly record observations as they are happening.
•a field journal – of fully written entries on observations and the information
•species account – of detailed observations on chosen species
•catalog – a record of where & when specimens were collected.
It takes practice to use the system but it is well worth it.
My nature journal information has improved probably a hundredfold. My observations are more thorough since I follow the suggested observation list of what to include. The species account has tied together various entries from the span of a year.
The Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology had started a project to put all of its collected field journals online. This is a wonderful opportunity for naturalists all over the world, to read information and see the field notes of professional scientists.
Buy a Guide to the Grinnell Method
My book on using the Grinnell Scientific Nature Journal method is available through lulu.com. Read more about it Grinnell Scientific Nature Journal (PDF and Paperback)
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