Nature Drawing: Blending Art and Science

February 18, 2021 - March 11, 2021


Contact: For more information, contact the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary at 269-671-2510 or


Hosted by W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

There is beauty and wonder all around us. Learning how to keep a nature journal of your observations can help deepen your connection to art, science, and place. Each class will begin with a presentation that introduces the ecology of native plants and landscapes given by a Kellogg Biological Station scientist. Participants will spend the remainder of each class learning to document their observations of nature using techniques in colored pencil from Artiste Olivia Mendoza.

Sessions will help participants:

  • Spark curiosity about science and art
  • Discover how science and art intersect in meaningful ways
  • Find tools to be intentional and playful in our observations of nature
  • Build scientific knowledge and awareness through journaling
  • Create a habit of intentional observation as naturalists, artists, and scientists
  • Build connections to our community and place

Participants will gain skills and experience in:

  • Thinking like an artist, a naturalist, and a scientist
  • Understanding of biodiversity at the landscape, community, and organismal scale
  • Understanding the layout and functions of a landscape
  • Identifying patterns and interactions in nature
  • Focusing on the structure and form of individual organisms
  • Learning art techniques using colored pencils and watercolors
  • Making scientific and artistic observations about nature at different scales


Early Registration: Jan. 1 - Feb. 11, 2021: Member $45.00/ non-member $55.00

Normal Registration: Feb. 12 - 21, 2021: Member $55.00 / non-member $65.00

  • Any attendee can transfer, at any time, their spot in the class to another person with no financial penalty
  • Cancellations within 14 days of the start of class are eligible for a 100% refund of class fees
  • Cancellation within 1 day of the start of the class (including during the class) is not eligible for any refund (0%); however, the spot may be transferred to another person


Week 1: Introduction to Nature Journaling

  • KBS Scientists: Corinn Rutkoski & Misty Klotz, Outreach Coordinator
  • Overview Nature journaling is a way of observing the environment by sketching what you see and jotting down notes about your observation, your surroundings, and what it reminds you of. 
  • In-Class Art Activity: This will be a really interactive program. Please be ready with an object to observe (it can be anything from your yard – a leaf, flower, rock, whatever you think looks cool!), paper, pens or pencils, and excitement to draw

Week 2: Landscape & Ecosystem Ecology

  • KBS Scientists: Lindsey Kemmerlinand Corinn Rutkoski
  • Overview:  This class will open with a discussion about the intersection of art and science. Corinn and Lindsey will present their research on agricultural landscape ecology and ecosystem functions.
  • In-Class Art Activity: Olivia Mendoza will lead the class in drawing a Michigan agricultural landscape.

Week 3: Community Ecology

  • KBS Scientists: Meredith Zettlemoyer
  • Overview: Meredith will discuss her research on plant-plant interactions in midwest prairie habitats.
  • In-Class Art Activity: Olivia Mendoza will lead the class in drawing a prairie plant community including wildflowers and grasses. 

Week 4: Species Ecology

  • KBS Scientists: Alice Pulchalsky and Tayler Ulbrich
  • Overview: Alice and Tayler will discuss their research on the ecology of organisms (moths and switchgrass) 
  • In-Class Art Activity: Olivia Mendoza will lead the class in drawing a detailed insect.

Course Materials:  Small journal or sketchbook with blank pages [recommended:], pencils, colored pencils. Participants are responsible for course materials.

Class Book: Laws guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws (Optional)


  • Must have access to the internet and provide a unique email address for each registrant at registration. 
  • Must know how to use a web browser (ex: Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer) and how to send and receive email.
  • You will receive an email with login information at noon on the day the program online materials become available.



Tags: 4-h visual arts, art, art and science, community, conservation stewards program, drawing, ecology, family, journaling, kbs, michigan master naturalist, msu extension, natural resources, nature, nature journaling, virtual