Using a Field Notebook for Nature Journaling

Grinnell style naturalist noteboo
Grinnell style naturalist 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.

I take mine on fast-moving birding walks with my Audubon 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 drabber 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 is written in the field journal.

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

My book on using the Grinnell Scientific Nature Journal method is available through

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