Nature is all around us wherever we are on Earth. This summer, if you are out and about in Ventura County (or elsewhere), you can record your observations of the plants and animals in a nature journal. So, when you get outdoors in your neighborhood, a park, the beach, or somewhere on vacation you can have fun and learn by exploring the page and the downloadable activity guide and sheets below. Have a wonderful summer!

Nature Journal Activity Guide:

You are encouraged to download an original MVC/AG Nature Journal for Summer 2020 below. This activity guide will help you get started with going outdoors and recording what you observe in nature through drawing and writing!

Nature Journal Activity Guide

Materials for recording (drawing and writing) in Nature:

Pencil(s), Paper, Clipboard or hard cover book, MVC/AG Journal Sheets (Optional). We encourage you to download the MVC/AG Activity Sheets below for children to record (draw and write) their observations of nature.

MVC/AG Nature Journal Sheets

Instructions:

Go outside – to the backyard, a local park, your patio, or anywhere the sun is shining! Take your paper, pencils, and a hard surface to draw and write on with you. Remember – be aware of any social distancing guidelines and any park closures due to public safety.

Use your senses – Now take in your surroundings, take a deep breath of the fresh air, look all around you, you’re already in a Mediterranean Ecosystem! What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Do you notice any plants or animals right away? Pick one thing to focus on!

  1. Choose one plant or animal that you can see and then draw it.
  2. Take notes and include in your drawing what you notice about your subject – how many arms/legs/wings/eyes, shape of leaves, etc. Write down all you know about it and what you want to know about it for later!

When exploring nature in Ventura County (or anywhere in our world), here are some amazing words to learn…

There are many different types of climate and weather conditions that exist across our planet. Each ecosystem on Earth contains a variety of different types of life.

Plants and animals face challenges wherever they live– from animals trying to eat them, finding the right food to eat, or threats caused by pollution or climate change.

Over time, plants and animals develop adaptations to get by in their ecosystems. An adaptation is how a plant or animal fits into its environment to survive. For example, some animals have certain patterns, colors, or shapes so that other animals can barely see them! This adaptation is called camouflage.

Plants also have adaptations that help them survive. In the Mediterranean Ecosystem, plants have special adaptations to help them survive the hot temperatures and low rainfall.

Make a virtual Nature Journal: PBS Kids Nature Sketchpad

Use some online tools to draw a plant or animal from nature! Use the following websites to identify native plants or animals and draw them from pictures you find below!

Native Plant Database: Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Native Plant Archives

Wild-life: iNaturalist – Online-community based wildlife map

Additional Suggested Arts and Crafts:

Nature Weaving Craft – take string, twigs, sticks and leaves to make a creative natural loom!

Scanned Drawing Prompts (requires printer/scanner) – scan leaves on your printer/scanner to make a colorful drawing!

Outdoor Mandalas – sticks, rocks, and leaves – Make a piece of land-art using what you can find!

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