I remember you – a Child’s nature guide

For the second year in a row, I have participated in the Brooklyn Art Museum’s sketchbook project. Last year, I simply used my sketchbook as a visual journal, adding a little autobiographical information and sketching what I saw; my cats, my family, places I visited, and then filled up the blank spaces with other things like postcards and some of my small paintings.
After being able to see what others did, I realized that while a theme is good, a story is even better. So I wrote a story. Or maybe a nature journal.

My book is a fully illustrated nature book. On each page you will see things that I discovered as a child. I was actually surprised at how many different things I could trace back to the first few years of my life, plants, insects, animals.

I believe that children are natural scientists. Whatever environment they are home in is what they will study. I was fortunate in that my mother routinely let me outside to play. I do believe the happiest hours of my childhood were while I was watching ants, or birds, or tasting various plants. A lot of this play was solitary, but my little sister was often my sidekick as we pulled plantain shoots apart or blew dandelion seeds into the air.

This whole book will be eventually digitized at which time I will share the link with you. But in the meantime, I’ll share a couple pages for a preview.

So do you remember plants and bugs from your childhood? I am very curious to hear.

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20 responses to “I remember you – a Child’s nature guide”

  1. What a wonderful look into the memories of your childhood. I remember lots of bug investigations when I was little – my favorites were always fuzzy caterpillars and dragonflies!


  2. Ah yes I was definitely the young scientist! I even had a microscope and my science lab was the family camping tent that my parents let us leave set up in the backyard all summer! There I catalogued my collection of leaves, bugs, wings, legs, (only if found already dead )grass, sand grains, shells, rocks, and live specimens to feed to the newts, frogs, and fence lizards I caught! I guess I haven’t changed much except that now I only catch things to photograph them then I let them go free! Your journal is AWESOME and it brought back such great memories! Deb

  3. I wasn’t really a bug watcher. Nor any other sibling. We were raised in a non-pet household so that probably diverted some of our interests somewhere else.

    However I do have fond memories of a salamander that I caught and put in shallow container. Even fashioned a moss garden for it with rocks. My excuse was: for a science class project.

    My memories of flowers and plants are abit more domestic –tulips, snowdrops and forget-me-nots.

    Now where I live, I miss the birds of my Ontario childhood –red cardinal, blue jay. My bedroom window had a maple tree that grew in front of it and turned golden every autumn …and these birds occasionally flitting around. Even with my urban (and non-camping) childhood and teenage years, every child should have presence of Nature near home in some way. (And we lived downtown in a city.)

  4. Very nice and I love the story nature of it – I can just imagine those kids exploring.

    I can’t remember much doing that as a kid – I do it now sometimes instead!

  5. Love your drawing of the poke berries. Can’t even count the clothes I ruined with the juice. Never could resist squishing the berries and tasting the juice, even though it was supposed to be poison.

  6. I loved nature as a child ~ and still do, as a child at heart! I especially love taking my kids out to explore and seeing everything again through their eyes. Loved your journal pages!

  7. I love your paintings and I love looking at all kinds of cool insects….we just saw the biggest dragonflies up at the cottage last weekend!!! amazing!!!

  8. I never looked at bugs as a kid 🙂 I do remember a short lived fascination with earth worms. I think the no bug thing was because I grew up with horses, a cat and chickens. Hummm, maybe my banty chickens ate the bugs?

  9. Jack in the pulpit was an exotic, spiritual plant to me. In the garden full on annuals, back in the shade near the more natural part of the yard, I’d search for him every year as a child. I still feel reverant when I come across him nowadays.

  10. I DO recall bugs and flowers in my childhood, from Johnny Jump-ups, to Triliums, to black and orange caterpillers. Mom was a Brownie Scout Leader, and studied some so she could teach us all when we went on outings into the woods. Miner’s Lettuce and Oxallis were eatible, we were taught. My students are required to keep “Scientific Journals” of sketches and comments of insects and plants…and various other items, and they do well!

  11. beautiful paintings, just lovely.I do remember flowers from child hood, buttercups being held under the chin to see if you liked butter, if there was a yellow glow you did.I also remember the fuzzy black and rusty brown catterpillars crawling across the dried clay roads.

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