Student Showcase

Well-Trained Mind Academy 2023 Nature Sketchbook Club Badges

2023 Nature Sketchbook Club participants received this black, circular badge with gold writing and drawings of the sun shining over some mountains.
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The Nature Sketchbook Club was busy this year sketching plants, birds, and the sky! Badges were awarded in the fall for students who completed each set of requirements. 

Students who completed the fall course and participated in club meetings, discussion boards, and badges earned the Fall 2023 Participation Badge.   

Sketchbook Page, Alexa Hale, Fall 2023
Sketchbook Page, Carys Fraser, Fall 2023

Nature Sketchbook Club Sky Badge

To earn the Sky Badge students had to keep a moon calendar and create a cyanometer using blue watercolor, a tool used to measure the shade of blue in the sky. Students were also required to make a cloud chart and observe and record the summer or winter solstice.

Cloud Chart, Alaina McCluskey, Fall 2023
Cloud Chart, Cyanometer, and Solstice Observation Eva Edwards, Fall 2023 

Nature Sketchbook Club Bird Badge 

The Bird Badge requirements included sketching seven birds from photos, completing a bird painting, and writing a poem or paragraph on the subject of birds. In our club meetings we read poems and participated in the bird sketching rodeo, an exercise by our favorite nature sketching celebrity John Muir Laws, to practice sketching birds quickly and accurately one after another. We read bird poetry and students wrote poems in their sketchbooks.  

Speed Bird Sketches, Joanna Erbaugh, Summer 2023
Bird Studies, Kaylee Rhine, Summer 2023

Nature Sketchbook Club Plant Badge

To earn the Plant Badge, students sketched seven different leaves, seven different flowers, seven different trees, and did a flower dissection to identify and sketch the parts of a flower.    

Sketchbook Page, Alaina McCluskey, Fall 2023
Sketchbook Page, Carys Fraser, Fall 2023

Sketchbook Page, Kade Baird, Fall 2023

Students challenged themselves to include words, pictures, and numbers to describe their observations and use the prompts “I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of…” to stretch their powers of observation and generate new ideas. 

Flower Study, Adelee Baird, Fall 2023
Beetle, Mary Gilbert, Summer 2023

Flower Study, Joanna Erbaugh, Fall 2023

Keeping a nature sketchbook is an excellent way to capture your observations of the natural world and remember moments in time. When you take a photo, you might remember a little bit about that thing you saw, but when you take 10-15 minutes and sketch what you notice, you will begin to ask questions and make connections in your mind.

The best thing is that you don’t need to know how to draw to join the Nature Sketchbook Club, but when you keep a nature sketchbook for a period of time, you will get better at drawing because you make a commitment to practice.  

If this sounds like something you would enjoy, I invite you to join us for these 2024 Nature Sketchbook Club sessions! 

  • Summer Bugs, Beetles, and Butterflies
  • Fall Foliage, Owls, and Moths
  • Spring Flowers, Birds and Pollinators

Kelly Houle

WTMA Nature Sketchbook Club and Mathematics Instructor

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