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Adrienne Olmstead
My Nature Journal

MY NATURE JOURNAL explores five naturals worlds through topics and activities: woodlands, meadows, ponds and streams, seashore and twilight along with a note on safety and respect for nature.

This book has lots of activities that will help children build a lasting personal connection with nature. Exploration activities (such as a woodland scavenger hunt)that encourage children to see, smell, hear and touch nature. Activities that teach kids ecology (why do plants have flowers?) help kids understand that everything in nature has a purpose. Reflective activities allow children to express their feelings and form an image of the world around them.

The reader is not left alone to fill a blank page in this journal. There are instructions and explanations and examples throughout. For example, on a birdwatching page, there are boxes that list birds' activities: a bird flapping its wings as it flies, a bird soaring, hopping, a bird with webbed feet, and so on. As you observe each of these activities, you check off that box.

Another section suggests that you find a comfortable place to sit at a pond, lake, stream or river and think of simple words that can express what you are feeling and create a poem. It also explains several forms of poetry, with examples, that can be used: Haiku, Cinquain and Free Verse.

MY NATURE JOURNAL is a masterpiece incorporating nature awareness, observation, listening, writing and creative skills in one keepsake journal.

This is an ideal gift and a great family activity.

Ages: 8 Up Younger with Adult Support

ORDER: HARDCOVER

Meet Adrienne Olmstead

"My Childhood Summers in Washington Inspired Me to Write MY NATURE JOURNAL."

" Why should I go first?" This question was asked by my younger brother, Danny." You should go first because you are smaller. If it is still floating after you get in, then I'll get in," I replied to him. I was referring to the bathtub that, after a few small repairs, was now floating in the irrigation ditch. Danny and I were planning an expedition.

Actually, my brother and I were seasoned veterans of many adventures that took place on our 100 acre property in Northeast Washington. Our summers passed as we swam in the river, built forts in the woods, and yes, floated down the irrigation ditch in a bathtub. The bathtub did float and it not only held me and Danny but also our one-eyed dog Raison. We lived to tell the tales of rapids, pirates and getting grounded on a cow's skull at the bottom of the ditch.

Adrienne OlmsteadThese childhood experiences of roaming freely in nature have followed me into adulthood. I continue to go to nature for quiet time and adventure. Hiking is a great joy in my life. Being in the mountains, seashore or desert I feel content, fulfilled and at home.

Those Washington summers have also influenced my life's work. My career has been dedicated to helping children develop a personal connection to nature. I received a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz ; I have worked as a naturalist teaching 5th and 6th graders at outdoor education schools; I created a watershed education program on the Russian River for the Sonoma County Water Agency, CA and was the director of the Environmental Education Center in Point Reyes National Seashore. But truly speaking, the creation of MY NATURE JOURNAL occurred when I was between the ages of 9-14 during those Washington summers.

My motivation for writing MY NATURE JOURNAL is to help children create their own nature experiences. I hope this book will encourage kids to go outside and explore, get dirty and discover nature's limitless wonders. It appears to me that many children are growing up behind the confines of four walls and constant entertainment in the form of TV, movies, radios, video games and computers. Children are missing the opportunity to roam in nature's playground and to use their imaginations to create their own adventures.

If MY NATURE JOURNAL inspires children to spend time outdoors in nature, then it has fulfilled its purpose. Children and nature go hand in hand. And every child should float down an irrigation ditch in a bathtub.