The Confluence of Science and Art
Kids, nature, science, and art. Mix them together and watch the magic happen. This fall the Springfield Art Museum, in collaboration with the Watershed Committee, offered a unique program to rural elementary students. The Placeworks STEAM Residency provides two classroom visits by Museum and Watershed staff as well as field trips to both the Art Museum and Watershed Center for participating schools. Nature journaling provides a common thread throughout the four sessions. Students are able practice their observation and documentation skills while exploring nature and art.
Artists and scientist like Muir, Leopold, and Audubon all understood the value of journaling. A journal provides a reliable record of observations. It also encourages you to focus much deeper than a typical casual observation. Often we are too quick to snap a photo and not take time experience and observe the nature around us. Journaling forces us to slow down and make a deeper connection. Students participating in the program are encouraged to use all of their senses to explore and observe nature.
People benefit from being in nature. Kids especially need to be out in nature. Next time you are struggling to come up for that perfect gift for someone, help them discover (or rediscover!) nature and think about getting them started on nature journaling.
Jeff Birchler, Watershed Center Coordinator