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Fiona Gillogly

10th Grade Student

Sacramento Waldorf School

Cultivating Curiosity: How I Use My Nature Journal to Explore Mysteries, See Connections, and Build Curiosity as a Skill


Three years ago, I had the blessing of a chance meeting with John Muir Laws, an author, artist, and educator who is passionate about nature. Thanks to him, I discovered a practice called nature journaling, which combines two things I have always loved: art and nature. Several times each week, I go out into nature, find something interesting, and I draw it, write down my observations, and wonder about it in my journal. Over the past three years, I have created more than 1,600 nature journal pages. Through my nature journaling practice, I have become more observant and more attentive to nature, and I have discovered that I love to get curious. Asking questions is fun, it is good for my brain, and it helps me go deeper into a mystery. Plus, it turns out that I do not have to wait to get curious--I can make it happen by asking questions. Getting curious activates my body’s reward system, encodes memories more deeply, and helps me learn more. I have also learned that asking questions in my journal gives me courage to ask more questions in other areas of my life.

Meet the Speaker:

Fiona Gillogly, age 16, has loved art and nature ever since she could hold a crayon. In 2016, when she discovered nature journaling and the work of John Muir Laws, she was thrilled to find something that combined these two things she adored, and she has become a passionate nature journaler and naturalist who loves to ask questions. Fiona spends time daily in the wild lands near her home, and she loves to look for mysteries in nature and explore them in the pages of her nature journal. Fiona is also an avid birder and a four-time recipient of the Central Valley Birding Club Youth Scholarship, enabling her to attend summer teen birding camps to further develop her skill and passion in birding. She especially enjoys the music of bird song and loves to bird by ear. She has given talks on birds and nature journaling at the Central Valley Birding Symposium, the Foster Museum in Palo Alto as part of their Artist-Explorer Series, and she was the keynote speaker at the 2019 Wake Up to Nature event for Environmental Volunteers. Fiona also loves to draw, paint, craft, act, sing, harmonize, play cello, compose music, write stories, and speak German.

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