Nature Journal

Picture of nature journal and plant pressThis year marks 10 years that I’ve been living in Columbia, and one thing I really appreciate about the city is all the nature areas. (I grew up in a town that had a small number of trees and only three parks.) By celebrating the Missouri Bicentennial, I am constantly learning more about Mid-Missouri. When the weather gets warmer, I cannot wait to see more of Columbia and the surrounding areas. My hope this spring is that you will explore beautiful Missouri, too.

Need ideas on activities to do while you’re out and about? Look no further than this nature journal! In it you’ll find multiple days’ worth of prompts and suggestions to enhance your outdoor adventures.

Once you download and print the pages, you will want to bind them together. Grab a string or ribbon and find a stick the length of the journal. Then, punch holes in the spine and wrap the ribbon around the stick and through the punched holes. Now you’re all set to document your experiences! For additional activities, check out our texture rubbing page and nature game.

Take the chance to find the closest state park and figure out the names of trees you see. If you live in Columbia, the city has a handy guide about the local tree population. Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary is also located in Columbia. This nature area is a great place to look for birds.Don’t forget to record your experiences!

Want to learn how to save a neat flower or leaf? Check out this video from the Columbia STEM Alliance on how to put together your own flower press or follow the instructions below.

What you’ll need:

  • Two boards of equal size (no smaller than 4”x4”)
  • Four bolts and wing nuts
  • Drill (to insert your bolts and wing nuts)
  • Cardboard (corrugated)
  • Box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Leaves or flowers to press
  • Wax paper (optional)

What you’ll do:

  1. Cut the two boards the same size.
  2. Drill a hole through the four corners of each piece of wood.
  3. As you begin to assemble press, push the bolts up through each hole, so the bolt head is on the bottom.
  4. Place one piece of cardboard on top of the bottom board.
  5. Put a couple of pieces of newspaper on top of the cardboard.
  6. Place your collected plants to be pressed on top of the newspaper.
  7. Place a couple of pieces of newspaper on top of the plants.
  8. Place a piece of cardboard on top of the newspaper.
  9. Once you have filled your press, place the other board on top.
  10. Tighten the wingnuts to gently press the flowers. After 24 hours, tighten some more.
  11. Put the press in a dry, well‐ventilated area.
  12. Your plants should be pressed in about three days to a week. Depending on the humidity, it may take up to three weeks for your plants to dry.

Going out in nature can be a rewarding experience. Remember, always check your surroundings, never trespass in areas that are not accessible to the public and wear proper shoes and clothing. Most importantly, always tell someone where you are going. My challenge for you this spring is to explore your area and find something new.

1 thought on “Nature Journal”

  1. Thank you so much for putting together the nature journal. During spring break my granddaughter had a wonderful time exploring my neighborhood, making texture rubbings and playing the nature game. We had a great time outdoors.

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