Everyone who has commented has expressed their desire to keep their own Calendar of Firsts, however there have been many questions, and I thought I would share some of the questions and answers here, incase it helps you with your own Calendar of Firsts.
I cannot draw.
Miss Mason had her students simply keep a dated list in the back of their regular nature journals. This is the ‘purest’ form of Calendar of Firsts, and will greatly increase your knowledge of the natural world around you.
I live in a place of very limited seasons, so this may be a bit more challenging, but I love the idea.
I think that just the simple act of keeping a Calendar of Firsts would help you to notice any subtle changes. Don’t worry about knowing what to look for in advance. Though the changes will not be as dramatic as for those of us living with the traditional seasons, there will be changes in the constellations, birds migrating from colder climates to spend the winter with you, flowers producing seeds and fruit, changes in temperature and rainfall, and so forth.
I have just begun nature journaling, so everything I see is a ‘first’! How do I differentiate my entries for my nature journal and Calendar of Firsts?
To keep things simple, you could keep a list of firsts in the back of your regular nature journal. If you wish to illustrate your Calendar of Firsts, the two can definitely cross over.
I would like to, but I feel concerned that my work won’t be as good as nature journals I see online.
Comparison is definitely the thief of joy. I would really encourage you to consider keeping a Calendar of Firsts. Please don’t let perfectionism put you off. I can guarantee that if you begin to keep a nature journal in January, by the time December comes around, you cannot fail to improve. I can see how much my own work has improved over the time I have been keeping nature journals.
Remember that nature study is a science not an art subject. Draw diagrams and write lots of notes rather than trying to create pretty pictures. Focus on the goal of learning more about the natural world around you. And imagine the sense of satisfaction you will feel when you look back over a years worth of diligent nature notes. Another idea that may lift the pressure, is to keep a family Calendar of Firsts, that everyone works in.
I can’t find the same journal that you have.
That’s fine! Use whatever is readily available to you, and within your budget. I would suggest going with the paper type/quality that you are comfortable with. Remember the work within is what makes the journal, not the book itself.
Help! Where do I begin?
With a Calendar of Firsts, on the 1st of Jan, write down what you see in the natural world around you. Focus on one place, that should hopefully make it less overwhelming. Then keep looking, what is changing? Flowers, daylight, shadows, the position of the sun, the constellations? Are birds reappearing from their winter in a warmer climate? Do you see them billing nests? Do you see young animals? Trees in bud, then producing flowers, then fruit? You really do not need to know what to look for in advance! The beautiful thing about a Calendar of Firsts, is that it teaches you to see, really notice, what is happening in your own locality.
I am really excited to see you keeping your own Calendar of Firsts in 2017!