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Nature Journaling / Science Notebook Lessons

Welcome to Tejon Ranch Conservancy’s Nature Journaling Lessons. Education coordinator and teacher, Paula Harvey introduces a series of Nature Journaling/Science Notebooks lessons through video lessons based on John Muir Laws’ journaling instruction and NGSS Cross-Cutting Concepts.

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For questions or comments, contact Paula at

Quantification and Mathematical Thinking

Introductory Journaling Techniques and Activities

Observation and Natural History

Inquiry, Investigation and Scientific Thinking

Drawing is one aspect of nature journaling, that is used along with writing (ABC) and measuring (123). Visual thinking and communication strategies, such as observational drawing, drawing from memory or imagination, making structural diagrams that emphasize parts or construction of an object, creating mental models, making maps and cross-sections, and creating quick sketches, are skills that improve with training and practice. 


Drawing improves observational skills. Any observation not specifically described in writing is lost, but in a sketch, many observations are unintentionally recorded in the course of drawing. 

Although both writing and drawing improve memory, drawing is a more effective memory hook. It does not matter whether the picture looks good or not. The attention required to draw locks a moment into a memory. 


Anyone can learn to draw. Drawing is a skill, not a gift. It is learned and the more you practice, the better you get. Using fundamental techniques of drawing accelerates one’s learning. Drawing fundamentals are tools, not rules.

Be part of something big! With 240,000 acres under its care, the Tejon Ranch Conservancy helps oversee management of one of the largest, and perhaps most historic, working cattle ranches in California. But we are more than just acres: we are research, education and exploration – we are science and stewardship – and we are discovery.

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