Create a Journal
"If you jot down every silly thought that pops into your mind, you will soon find out everything you most seriously believe." --Unknown
Why keep a journal?
Most naturalists keep a journal to record their observations. Through history, these journals have proved invaluable in reconstructing the habitats and environments of a time gone by, before modern civilization. It is still important today that the naturalist continue to document what they see and how they see it. Keeping a journal is a good way to jog your memory when you come across a species or event in nature that is new to you. Writing down every detail that you can think of so that you can recall it at a later date for comparison or research. There remain many mysteries in the natural world and sometimes great discoveries are made by the amateur naturalist who is practiced at journaling.
What to record in your journal
You may use any blank book or notebook for your journal (or make your own) - a ring binding makes it easier to make drawings. Start each entry with the date and what time of day it is. Then you can mention the weather and where you are, the neighborhood creek, a friends yard, etc. Be sure to notice any changes in the season and note that as well. Make notes of everything you see. You may also include things you find like feathers or interesting leaves. Let your eyes and your mind wander and write down questions that pop into your head. Be sure to consult with field guides on any wildlife that you see you can't identify. If you have noted enough detail in your journal entry, you will most likely be able to solve the mystery.