Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Work it to Earn it : field books

At our last ULS meeting there were three scouts with completed observation books. Yes! Below are examples from two of those observant scouts, Adan and Jennifer Akerman. In addition to being very nice people and enthusiastic scouts, the Akermans have a neat company called Akertoys. I think you can see some of their design sensibilities in these two examples from their field books. Above is Jennifer's drawing and musings about moss and at right is Adan's close up drawing of a "very straight stem."

If you live in the Knoxville area and haven't been out to one of the workshops at Three Rivers Market, I want to encourage you to join us. If you don't live in Knoxville you can still get started earning your OBSERVATION badge.

Here's how to make a quick small field journal to fill with your observations. Take three sheets of office paper and fold them in half hamburger-style (for the more literal-minded, that's on 5.5" mark on the Y-axis). Cut them in half following the fold so you end up with six sheets each 5.5" x 8.5". Fold each of these in half and nest them together. If you'd like to include the Urban Land Scout pledge and ten core values in your book, you can download and print out this file and print it double-sided.

Next find a sturdy material like poster board, canvas, vinyl, thick paper, etc. and cut a cover slightly larger than the pages (around 6" x 9" should be ample) and fold it in half. Tuck the nest of pages into the cover and stitch or staple the pages and cover together. Waxed dental floss or embroidery floss are both good-- you want something a little thicker than sewing thread.

Once you've finished your book take it (and a pen or pencil) out on a walk and fill it with your drawings and notes. If you're stumped for what to draw or write use the observation words below as prompts. (These vocabulary words are also helpful if you're introducing the ideas of outdoor observation to a young person).
  • shape
  • scale or size
  • texture
  • color
  • quantity
  • location
When you've filled 90-100% of your book you can turn it in (or email photos/scans of it) to me and receive your OBSERVATION badge, the foundation of Urban Land Scouts. 

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