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Nature Journaling with Susan Sawyer

September 15, 2019 @ 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM


Three Sundays: September 15, 22, and 29 | 9 am – 1 pm
12 hours of instruction
Cost: $75 NBNC members $85 members
Ages 18+

This three-part class takes place in the fields, woods and riverside while observing, questioning, and learning about the natural world around us*. We’ll develop artistic and writing skills with pencil, pen, watercolor, and colored pencils. We will practice techniques and creative approaches including haiku, mapmaking, lists, and special adaptations like pocket-size nature journals, quick handmade booklets, and group journals.

Nature journaling is a flexible practice that can be adapted to your own life and goals. There is no wrong way to make a nature journal, but developing the practice is much easier with guidance, mentorship, and the space to practice diverse techniques and methods.

Three good reasons to keep a nature journal:

  • You can slow down, sit down, look around, and observe things that you otherwise would not notice.
  • You’ll be making something: it’ll be interesting, original, maybe beautiful, and priceless.
  • You’ll have a record of places you’ve been and things you experienced, which can help you remember and share those things.

*In case of rain, we’ll still go out observing and collecting, but will return indoors to draw.


(Registration Opens June 15)

About the Instructor:

Susan Sawyer is an artist-naturalist from South Woodbury. She works as an educator, naturalist, and illustrator for the Four Winds Nature Institute, and as a teacher of art to adults in non-formal settings. She worked for 13 years for VINS, 9 of those at the North Branch Nature Center, and for 15 years was on the faculty of Union Institute & University’s Adult Degree Program, advising studies in science, art, or both – it’s that intersection of the two fields that she finds the most fertile and creative. She thinks observation and imagination are the beginnings of both science and art, and believes in having serious fun while learning.

“As an art teacher, I want students to practice some new skills, learn from observing their subjects, from their experiments, from their fellow students as well as me, and go away encouraged to continue. Working out in the field is focused on responding to a place and a day by spending time in it watching and drawing, getting some sense of it on the page from multiple scales and viewpoints. Style is less important than spirit! My current practice is mainly on paper, using watercolor, pencil, ink, and silverpoint. I’m interested in making pictures, often very close up, of native plants and invertebrates (and some with backbones, too). My aim these days is to make art that appeals to scientists, and science that appeals to artists.”

BA in graphics and natural history from New College, Sarasota, Florida, 1971
MFA in visual art from Vermont College, 1993
Diploma in Botanical Art, Society of Botanical Artists, London, 2011


September 15, 2019
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
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North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602