Wander in Wonder: Nature Journaling for heartfelt connection to the natural world

Dates: July 14-19, 2024
Instructor: Melinda Nakagawa
Fee: $500 + meals and accommodations fees
Term: Summer 2024

Workshop Description

Wander in Wonder: Nature journaling for a heartfelt connection to the natural world. Unplug from technology and distraction and play with me and your journal to feel a sense of peace and replenishment from nature. My workshops bridge science, nature, art, and heart and I’ll guide you through ways of seeing and listening to nature with all your senses and with the lens of curiosity, creativity, and joy. I’ll show you how to sketch loosely with more ease and less stress, while quieting the inner critic so you have more time to fully immerse yourself in the magnificent nature of the Sierras. We’ll practice writing, drawing, seeing, sensing, wondering and Be-ing in nature in an open-hearted and playful way. We’ll explore capturing the sounds, sights, smells as well as your conversations with nature so that your nature journal becomes a keepsake of your time wandering in wonder in nature. I create a safe, nonjudgmental, and encouraging space where even the most timid drawer will feel comfortable. We share our experience and journals each day for collaborative learning. If you’re new to journaling or want to build confidence in drawing with more ease, join me for 5-days of practice! All levels of experience are welcome.

Nature journal with pens

Instructor Bio

Melinda Nakagawa has an M.S. in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs and San Jose State University. She’s worked as a field researcher, professional naturalist and outdoor educator. She leads nature journaling professional development trainings for educators, and teaches workshops online. In 2019 she started the Monterey Bay Nature Journal Club and nature journaling community online. Having kept nature journals for over 25 years she’s developed a deep wonder and connection to nature and continues to find new awe-inspiring subjects in the natural world. She welcomes all people regardless of their skill level or background, guiding participants to cultivate a deeper relationship with the natural world by slowing down to nature’s pace--seeing rather than just labeling nature and nurturing a deeper connection with nature and their inner nature.




Workshop Schedule

Sunday: Arrive between 2 and 5pm for check-in and setting up camp. Welcome dinner at 6 followed by introductions and evening journaling session. 

Monday-Thursday: We will have nature journaling sessions each morning and afternoon, at the field campus and/or at offsite locations. Time for solo time or rest

Friday: Morning session and closing; class will end by 11am.

Topics to include

· Introduction to nature journaling

· Sketching to see: simple effective strategies so you can draw with ease and expand your awareness

· Simplifying complex subjects and Scribbling trees: Easy ways to sketch trees

· Quick Gesture sketches of moving subjects

· Splash of Colors adding simple watercolor to your sketches

· Mini Landscapes for a Sense of Place

· Awaken the Senses: words to describe sensory awareness

· Writing: Story of our day, simple poems

· Wandering in Wonder

· Rest and Reset: Sit spot for inspiration

· Playful Curiosity nature exploration

· Listening to Nature’s wisdom

· Seeking mindful moments in nature

Workshop Supplies List

Supplies List

· Your nature journal or sketchbook

· Your preferred writing supplies: Pen and pencil, sharpener

· Optional but recommended -preferred Color media (colored pencils, markers, watercolors with brush)

· Optional: few sheets of toned paper, tracing paper, printer/copier paper

· Optional but recommended: portable camp chair /stool for field journaling excursions

· Bag to carry your journaling supplies

· Hat with a brim

Lodging and Camping Supplies

Camping gear if you are staying on campus:

  • tent and sleeping pad (unless you are staying in our tent with a cot provided)
  • warm sleeping bag
  • pillow, toiletries, and towel
  • flashlight and lantern
  • alarm clock

Field gear for everyone:

  • day pack
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellant
  • water bottles
  • plastic containers for packed lunches
  • sense of humor

You might also want to bring:

  • camera
  • binoculars
  • hand lens
  • camp chair - Strongly recommend this for songwriting circles!


The weather in the Sierra Nevada can vary greatly, even in a single day. Be prepared for chilly temperatures at night, even below freezing early in the summer. Rain is a possibility any time, whether forecast or not. Variable weather clothing that can be layered is best: long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, warm sweater and jacket, t-shirt and shorts or skirt, sturdy shoes or hiking boots, sun hat, rain gear, and a warm hat or gloves for cold weather and/or night activities. And, if you come later in the season, bring your swimsuit for afternoon dips in the lakes!