Places to Observe in Your Nature Journal


Impoundment pond at John Heinz NWR at Tinicum in South Philadelphia, PA.
Impoundment pond at John Heinz NWR at Tinicum in South Philadelphia, PA.


Choosing places as a theme for your nature journal, will help you more easily see and connect with the natural world. These nature journal writing prompts show the many choices available to you.

Choosing a Place

The best place is one you visit daily or several times a week. The spot should be easy to get to and explore. You can observe right where you visit every day or on vacations. You don’t have to travel to national parks or nature preserves to observe and learn about the Earth.

You can also focus on several spots but with the same theme. Suppose you observe, draw, or photograph the native plants outside where you work, regularly walk or go on vacation. One theme but many places. Nature Journal Themes

What you end up creating is a field guide to your own special places.


Places to Observe

  • Your backyard habitat – Observe the animals that visit, bloom time of plants, the stars in the sky overhead.
  • Your garden – observe the plants and the ecology, plantings, and harvests. Watch the interaction of insects, birds and “weeds”. Note seasonal changes, bloom dates, frosts, and dew.
  • In Your Home – Okay, we have seen bugs and insects crawling around our houses like they pay a mortgage. Who are they and what are they doing? Do they help or hinder us? What is the mold growing on the basement wall?
  • One Square Foot (Meter) – observe one square foot of ground. Mark off with string, the areas you choose to study. Observe the plants and animals that live there. You can do one spot or several in your chosen area.
  • Sky – Try charting the movement of the sun, moon, and stars. Where does the sun rise on the solstices? Is the same spot in winter and summer? On the equinoxes? Are the same stars over your house every day of the year? Name the most common constellations. Which way is north?
  • Travel – While traveling, keep your eyes open for nature happenings in new areas. Research an area before arriving and find common characteristics between home and the new area.
  • Mountains – What mountain range are they apart of? What are they made of? How do scientist think they are formed? Who lives and grows in the mountains?
  • Seashore – Study tidal pools, shorebirds, seashells, beach plants, life in the dunes, the beach after a storm, tides, things washed ashore and endangered species.
  • Water – Record the life and seasonal changes at wetlands, lakes, ponds, streams, backyard ponds and pools.

More Nature Journal Prompts

The Nature Journal Prompts guide consists of 37-pages of nature journaling prompts. Available for immediate download.

I collected the best nature journal prompts from over a decade of blog posts and packaged it along with images from my personal nature journals.

To receive all blog posts, subscribe to the blog.  

More on Nature Journals

Natural Places in the Philadelphia Area

Thoreau’s Style of Keeping a Nature Journal

Nature Journal Page Layouts: Try a New Technique

Nature Journal Diagrams: How to Draw Movement

Choosing a Hand Lens for Nature Study

Choosing Binoculars for Nature Study

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