Introduction to the
Red legged Kitti Wake
In your classroom outdoors
Series 1 of 3
1. Letter to teachers
2 My background
4. Lesson Plan
5. How to draw birds
6. references and books
“Nature journaling is a wonderful connection between
people and place. It brings both into a space where the
infiniteness of time can be experienced in one moment.
This is important, especially in a place such as the Pribilof
Islands where nature’s fertile moments are so brief in a
yearly cycle, but, so infinite in the existence of the wildlife
that depend on them. Nature journaling taught by
Katherine Zecca presented the element of possibility. Her
nature was a key factor in the success of her students.”
Aquilina D. Lestenkof, ECO Co-Director
Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government
Ecosystem Conservation Office
The lessons address the following standards:
NS.5-8.1 SCIENCE AS INQUIRY
NATIONAL STANDARDS, K-12 Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
Understandings about scientific inquiry
NL-ENG.K-12.8 DEVELOPING RESEARCH SKILLS
Students use a variety of technological and informa-
National Science Standards in changing emphases:
tion resources (e.g., libraries, observational, computer
networks,) to gather and synthesize information and to
create and communicate knowledge Focusing on student understanding of information
and use of scientific knowledge, ideas, and inquiry
NA-VA.5-8.1 UNDERSTANDING AND APPLYING ME- processes. Guiding student in active an extended
DIA, TECHNIQUES Students select media, techniques, scientific inquiry.
and processes; analyze what makes them effective or
not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon Nature Journaling serves as a model that empha-
the effectiveness of their choices sizes certain attitudes and values of scientific inquiry.
Such as wonder, curiosity and respect toward nature.
Credits: Claire Walker Leslie, Smithsonian Institution, National Science Education Standards (Chapter 3)
Letter to Teachers and Students
A nature journal can be as simple as recording the activity
of your backyard bird feeder to as complex as the recording of a
scientific inquiry into a new species of frogs. It is a tool for
your personal discovery or proof for your doctoral degree.
If a journal is kept for many years, natural patterns
will occur and eventually you will be able to predict what will
This is a beginning of lesson plans based on my personal experience,
and the experience of others.
Keep Safe.....Always make sure an adult is with you or knows where you are.
Keep a safe distance from wild animals
If you find a wild baby animal leave it alone. Chances are the mother is nearby and
will take care of it.
Writing and Illustrating has been a natural part of Katherine’s life from an early age.
Of course as a child she called it doodling and notes.
Through perserverance she has been illustrating professionally for twenty three
years. The day
after graduated from art school, she was employed as a staff artis and graphic de-
NOAA, Alaska Fisheries Science Center.
Creating illustrations of dolphins, crab, and seals
for marine biologists and editors. After working
there for 12 years, she resigned and began a
full time persuit as a free-lance illustrator and
Katherine was invited to teach Nature Journaling to the children
and adults of St. Paul Island, Alaska. Requested by the Pribilof School
District and the Aleut Community. She taught for two weeks on an
series of islands that have been named the Galapagos of the North.
Later invited to teach in New Brunswick Canada at a three week creative
camp for children. There with the help of biologist teachers and writers, created a
book with 12 children that included all the observations which
included observing the Atlantic Puffin.
Kodiak Island - Whale Festival, teaching nature journalism from college level, grade
school and high school students
Snohomish School District - 3 years teaching art from grades 3-12
Snohomish Parks and Recreation - 6 seasons teach nature journaling
Sketching is a vital part of my reference work for my children”s books.
A Puffin’s Year - Written and Illustrated by Katherine Zecca
- Down East Books
In My Backyard - Written by Valarie Giogas
-Sylvan Dell Publishing
River Song - Written by Steve Van Zandt
Katherine is available for School Visits and teaching sessions
contact her through her web site at www.katherinezecca.com for further
Starting & Ending Time
Seeing first then drawing
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Length of lesson: 40 minutes
outdoor habitat locations where students can sit undisturbed for
a short period of time
sheets of unlined paper
1. Encourage students to look in the broad sense of the word -
seeing, listening touching and smelling..
(Note: It is my opinion that the teacher should also be participating in this process)
2. Select an area that has a potential of a habitat, where there is a diversity.
A portion of a school yard that has trees or shrubs, boulders.
Mainly just interesting items to look at.
3. In this area ask each student (individually) to find a place and be quiet for
five minutes. Encourage them to listen, see, and smell their environment.
4. With sketches and writing on their paper, have them record what the have
5. Have them come back into a circle formation. It is not necessary that they show
their work but describe what they have observed.
Discussion and Questions
What was your first impression?
Were you able to describe what you saw or heard?
Why might it be important to develop your skills of actively \looking”?
Think about becoming more aware of where you live.
What is in your own backyard or park?