Biography

elk skullJohn Muir Laws is a naturalist, artist, and educator who has dedicated his work to connecting people to nature through art and science. From an early age his parents instilled in him a deep love and respect for nature. Over the years, that love has grown to a commitment to stewardship and a passion to share the delight of exploring nature with others.  As both a scientist and artist, Laws has developed interdisciplinary programs that train students to observe with rigor and to refine techniques to become intentionally curious.

He teaches nature study and natural history workshops that incorporate illustration and scientific note-taking as a means to greater observation, memory and curiosity. Laws is the founder and host of the Nature Journal Club. A family friendly, intergenerational community who connect with nature through art and field journaling. Every month he leads nature study and illustration field trips, teaches seven nature drawing workshops around the San Francisco Bay Area, and share videos of the classes online with an international community of nature artists. The entire program is free and supported by donations and grants. He is also a primary author and editor of the interdisciplinary curriculum: Opening the world through Nature Journaling. This standards based, curriculum is student tested and teacher approved and merges science, language arts, and visual arts through teaching students to keep a nature journal. This resource, now in its second edition, is free to educators and has been downloaded and used all over the world in schools, science centers, home school communities, camps, and informal science education programs.

Laws has written and illustrated several books including The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (2016), The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), Sierra Birds: a Hiker’s Guide (2004), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007), and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009). He is a regular contributor to Bay Nature magazine with his “Naturalists Notebook” column.

Laws giving a lecture about mammal anatomy with 3 assistants.

His work has been nationally recognized. He is a research associate of the California Academy of Sciences. He was given the 2020 Bay Nature Local Hero award for his work in environmental education. In 2009, he received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in Environmental Education. He is a 2010 TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow with the National Audubon Society. He was the 2011 artist for International Migratory Bird Day. In 2011 he was the Educator of the Year for the California Institute for Biodiversity. He was the 2013 Nature’s Inspiration Honoree, Committee for Green Foothills. And he was the 2010 Outstanding Learning Disabled Achiever. Honored by the Lab School of Washington D.C., in recognition for his contributions and achievements and as an example for children with learning disabilities.

           

Short Biography for Events and Introductions

John (Jack) Muir Laws is a scientist, educator, and author, who helps people forge a deeper and more personal connection with nature through keeping illustrated nature journals and understanding science. His work intersects science, art, and mindfulness. Trained as a wildlife biologist and an associate of the California Academy of Sciences, he observes the world with rigorous attention. He looks for mysteries, plays with ideas, and seeks connections in all he sees. Attention, observation, curiosity, and creative thinking are not gifts, but skills that grow with training and deliberate practice. As an educator and author, Jack teaches techniques and supports routines that develop these skills to make them a part of everyday life.

(Optional) He was given the 2020 Bay Nature Local Hero award for his work in environmental education. In 2009, he received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in Environmental Education. He is a 2010 TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow with the National Audubon Society. He was the 2011 artist for International Migratory Bird Day. He has written and illustrated books about art and natural history including The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (2016), The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), Sierra Birds: a Hiker’s Guide (2004), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007), and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009). He is a regular contributor to Bay Nature magazine with his “Naturalists Notebook” column. He is the primary author and editor of the curriculum: Opening the World through Nature Journaling. This free teaching guide is kid-tested and teacher-approved and integrates science, language arts, and visual arts through keeping a nature journal. He is the founder and host of the Bay Area Nature Journal Club, monthly free nature sketching workshops, field trips, and events, connecting people with nature through art.