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Making a Field Journal

A field journal is important to the work of scientists who study nature, and they’re pretty fun to make too!

When you go outside and see nature (or even if you see plants and animals inside), you can record what you see and notice in your field journal. It is a way of keeping track of all the interesting things you observe in the world around you.

You can make a field journal however you want—out of an old notebook, loose paper, or maybe even a notebook from the Newport Restoration Foundation store!

There is no one way to make a field journal. You can record your observations in the way that makes the most sense to you. You can use writing, drawing, charts, pictures, or any other way you want to record your thoughts! Many scientists like to record the date, time, place, and weather conditions (is it sunny, cloudy, warm, windy, snowing?) on each page—this helps them to remember where and when they saw the plant or animal. If you want, you can also include an image of what you see—this can be a simple drawing, a colorful sketch, or even a photograph. Your observations can be written short, long, or anywhere in-between—just write about whatever interests you, and the things you’d like to remember about what you’re seeing.

It’s important to remember to try not to disturb the plants or animals as you are observing them, and to try to “leave no trace” to avoid hurting a plant or animal’s natural home or habitat.

Prescott Farm is a great place to get started on a field journal, since there are so many different plants and animals to see, all in one place!

Here are some examples of field journals, to help you get started:

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