Observing and Journaling in the Wilds of Eastern NC

One who reviews pleasant experiences and puts them on record increases the value of them to himself; he gathers up his own feelings and reflections, and is thereby better able to understand and to measure the fullness of what he has enjoyed.

~Sir Edward Grey

I often get comments like this when I post a blog on some creature I have seen in my wanderings outside…You wear special glasses to see these things……right? Well, while I do wear glasses, they are not special naturalist glasses. What I, and many other naturalist types that I know, see is based on a lot of things – familiarity with an area, knowing what to look for, patience, and being in the right place at the right time, among others. It comes from years of dong this, from learning as much as I can about an animal, and by always being on the lookout for things. It isn’t magic, it is something that can be learned, and the more you do it, the better you will be at it. It also helps that I record a lot of my observations. I used to do it in a paper journal. Now, I tend to do more of it electronically and with digital images. A good friend, neighbor, and former co-worker, Jane, does it using a field sketches and notes about the things she sees in nature. We both agree, the important thing is to get outside and to start recording your observations.


A page from Jane’s journal on tanagers at her feeder (click photos to enlarge)

Summer Tanager male 2

Summer tanager from one of my blog posts in 2014

If this sort of thing appeals to you, Jane and I are offering a workshop next month (June 16-19) in conjunction with Pocosin Arts in Columbia, NC. Their web site describes the purpose of this unique institution – Pocosin Arts is dedicated to nurturing creativity through arts education.  Located a few steps from the banks of the Scuppernong River we are surrounded by water, wildlife and the natural beauty of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, making it an ideal place to leave your daily routine behind and immerse yourself in one of our creative workshops. That is exactly what Jane and I hope to share with our participants in this unique setting. Spend a few days exploring the natural wonders of this incredible region, learning how to increase your observation skills, and how to record your observations through field sketches and journaling. Details and registration information are available on the Pocosin Arts web site. Hope you can join us for this exciting outdoor experience.


6 thoughts on “Observing and Journaling in the Wilds of Eastern NC

  1. OK, I get it…..you wear special glasses and Jane uses a special pen…..

    Sounds like a great workshop. Unfortunately we’ll be on the move in Spain then. Really like your creative ideas for learning about nature. We’ll definitely catch you another time. Linda

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Mike, this looks so awesome. Will your participants mostly be people with high skill levels in drawing, photography and other arts? I would like to think about participating, but not sure if I’m the sort of attendee you are looking to attract.One way or the other, I hope you are doing well. Love your posts and blogs.Jane

    From: Roads End Naturalist To: jedmather@yahoo.com Sent: Friday, May 6, 2016 7:40 AM Subject: [New post] Observing and Journaling in the Wilds of Eastern NC #yiv1923543810 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1923543810 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1923543810 a.yiv1923543810primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1923543810 a.yiv1923543810primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1923543810 a.yiv1923543810primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1923543810 a.yiv1923543810primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1923543810 WordPress.com | roadsendnaturalist posted: “One who reviews pleasant experiences and puts them on record increases the value of them to himself; he gathers up his own feelings and reflections, and is thereby better able to understand and to measure the fullness of what he has enjoyed.~Sir Edward ” | |

    • Hi Jane…This workshop is open to people of all skills levels. When we did this type of session while working for the museum, we usually had people that were interested in nature and looking to improve their skills in observing the outdoor world and recording it by using field sketches. I imagine many of the participants will be beginner’s that want to improve their skills and learn some natural history in a beautiful setting. You are exactly the type of person we are looking for – hope you can join us.

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