818-597-8627 info@rcdsmm.org

Welcome to Place-Based Journaling 

Place-Based Journaling (PBJ) is the intersection between science notebooks and nature journals. With PBJ, science becomes accessible to all students and creates a place where they can incorporate their own culture and experiences. The beauty of this program is that you can find nature and science everywhere.

Bring journaling to your home or school for an enriching hands-on experience. If you can’t get outside, you can find plenty of nature and science in your kitchen.

Place-based journaling creates an even playing field for all students to feel comfortable when they do science. The beauty of place-based journaling is that it brings joy while simultaneously building science skills. The experience is driven by phenomena (what the students are observing around them) and not prior knowledge so all students can participate equally. Students are journaling about what they choose and find interesting, so they stay engaged!

Each unit includes NGSS supported journaling activities, instructional videos, interactive online activities as well as resources to expand the experience.


By enrolling in our PBJ course, students will:

-build observation and communication skills (through writing and drawing)

-have the opportunity to become curious and be encouraged to show creative and artistic expression

-use local phenomena from the Santa Monica Mountains

Two Options:

Option #1

Receive a PDF or hard copy of the Place-Based Journaling booklet and complete activities asynchronously.

Option #2

Receive a hard copy of the PBJ booklet, a kit full of journal supplies, and a live Zoom meeting with an RCD educator.

Course Overview

Unit 1

An Introductiuon to Place-Based Journaling

  • Learn how to find a great sit spot
  • Learn how to become more curious
  • Learn how to communicate your ideas on paper


Unit 4


  • Draw a bee from memory and then looking at an image
  • Practice asking questions
  • Journal your own Super Insect
  • Learn to draw insects


Unit 2


  • Compare common birds to find out what makes a bird a bird
  • Use your graphing skills to find out where birds spend their time
  • Close your eyes and listen – birds are all around you
  • Get some quick tips on how to draw birds
  • Find out which ones are in your backyard

Unit 5


  • Have some fun measuring how much water is on the planet
  • Take a virtual journey to learn about the water cycle
  • Journal about how water is being used all around you
  • Find out more about how water makes its way to your tap

Unit 3


  • Zoom in and out to find out about the ecosystem around your favorite tree
  • Learn all about the life cycle of the Coast Live Oak
  • Yum, tree cookies. How can you use them to learn about the life of the trees all around you?
  • Do all tree look the same? Find out how to draw a mighty oak

Unit 6

Next Steps

  • Find out how to continue your Place-Based Journaling practice


Reach out to our Education Coordinator for pricing options.

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