The Bay Area Nature Journal Club is a diverse community of artists and naturalists, of all levels, who meet together to connect to nature through art. Through free monthly field trips, hands on technique workshops, and community events we explore the Bay Area, developing our artistic and naturalist skills and deepening our love of nature. The club and its activities are a program of the National Wildlife Federation of California.
We welcome the diverse communities of the region. The program is intergenerational and family friendly. Seniors and elders are encouraged to participate. This is a great program for families. Parents are encouraged to bring mature children who have demonstrated an interest in nature sketching. Please monitor and encourage your children so they feel supported to fully participate.
How to join
This program is free and no registration is required. Show up with your journal and supplies and get ready to explore and draw. You can get notifications about group outing and activities by joining my mailing list and/or the meetup group. I also encourage you to join the Club's Facebook Group to share sketches, drawings, arrange carpools, and connect with the group community. Announcements and events will also be listed in the Facebook group.
Nature Journal Workshops
Join us for a 1.5 hour technique workshop on the second successive Tuesday- Wednesday of each month. These classes prepare you with drawing skills you can apply on the upcoming field trip. For instance, a field trip to Hawk Hill might be preceded by a workshop on drawing hawks in flight. The technique workshops are repeated in the North Bay, East Bay and South Bay in wheelchair accessible locations at different times of the day. Most of these workshops will be videotaped and posted to YouTube so you can watch them on my YouTube channel if you were not able to join one of the classes. See the event schedule for details. (to be announced)
Monthly Field Trips
Mark your calendars and join our field trip on the last Sunday of each month from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (unless otherwise noted in the description). Trip activities include technique demonstrations, natural history interpretation, time in the outdoors, a potluck lunch, and plenty of time to draw and write. Most field trips will include easy to moderate walking. If field trips are wheelchair accessible or may require more strenuous hiking, they will be described as such in that month's program description. See the event schedule for details. (to be announced)
If rain is forecasted for the day of the field trip, the trip may be canceled or relocated to an indoor venue. Check the program description Sunday morning before leaving for updates and changes.
Art Shows and Exhibitions of Group Work
Bay Area Nature Journal Club members are invited to participate in periodic public shows of their work. These shows can help demonstrate individual improvement and the beauty and diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area. If you know a venue that would be appropriate to feature the work of our group, please contact me with details.
Expectations and what to bring
The Bay Area Nature Journal Club is a supportive community. Participants are expected to treat each other with respect and create a safe place for people to push their boundaries, draw, and write without criticism or fear. Please do what you can to engender this feeling in the group. I encourage all participants to share their tricks and techniques with each other. It is fun to teach and to learn from one another.
I encourage you to make journaling and participating in club events part your regular routine. If you have not drawn in a long time, it can be scary to start again. Once you do, you will discover that this new skill develops quickly. Throw yourself into it and be fearless. The most important thing is to get yourself to draw a lot. Club events and outings help but it is even better if you can get yourself to draw even more often Leave your inner critic behind and go for it. If you feel comfortable doing so, bring your latest sketches or poems to share with others. Please also share your artwork, techniques and ideas in the club's Facebook group. We can all learn a lot from seeing the work of other artists and naturalists. Most importantly, have fun with it- this is a joyous experience.
Nature journaling and exploration are great activities for children. Parents are encouraged to make journaling and participation in group activities a regular practice for your family. Please evaluate and monitor your children's interest and participation to help them get the most from the experience and to make sure that their participation enhances the group experience for everyone.
I have prepared a suggested equipment list. You do not need everything on this list. Keep your kit light and accessible. Also bring a spoon, bowl, and something delicious to share in the potluck lunch. We often stray from our vehicles so make sure you have everything packed and portable.
Please download and complete the liability release form and bring it with you the first time you join us on a field trip. (coming soon)
How can I help?
This program is free for everyone. It is supported by generous grants and donations from foundations, individuals, and families. This program has an annual budget of $50,000. To keep it going, please consider becoming an annual sponsor and donating to support the Bay Area Nature Journal Club. All donations are tax deductible through the California branch of the National Wildlife Federation. Also please help connect me with philanthropic individuals or organizations who can help sponsor the program.
If you have film editing skills, please consider joining our volunteer team of videographers who film the technique workshops and make them accessible to everyone.