Super simple to put together, these little blank books are perfect for capturing the return of the robins and the depth of the gunk puddles in front yard (we suggest using rubber boots or bare feet and an old ruler for that one).

To make a nature journal: Gather at least 10 sheets of standard (8×11) paper to be folded in half (recycled letters or old school reports work great for this, as you can use empty backsides to draw and tape natural specimens, like pressed flowers or first season blades of green grass to the used sides). Fold, rubbing the paper several times to create a strong crease.

Using a paper punch, put three holes in the folded edge of the paper. This is your book spine.

To make a cover, cut two pieces of recycled cardboard or watercolor paper to the size of the folded paper, and decorate as you wish. Punch three holes to match the papers.

Find a small stick on the ground, and cut it to the size of your journal.

Using embroidery thread, twine, or yarn, lace through each hole and tie to the stick.

Once your nature journal is ready to go, head outside and draw, record, and write about what you see.  Some ideas for nature journaling include:

Keep a record of one spot in your yard– a particular tree or patch of ground, and follow the change of seasons in a daily or weekly way by noticing how the area changes. 

Go on a bird hike and draw any birds you see.  Back at home, use a bird book to help identify any mystery birds and add interesting facts about each.

Visit area nature preserves and draw pictures of what you see, write poems about the spaces, or keep lists of birds, animal tracks and different ecosystems you discover there.  For a list of preserves in your area, check local conservancy websites like Little Traverse Conservancy,; Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy,; and Leelanau Conservancy,

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