Schedule a Keynote, Workshop, or Presentation

I give presentations for schools, homeschool groups, community groups, and conferences. Contact me to schedule a program.


School and Homeschool Programs

I offer rich, interactive, full-day programs for schools and homeschool groups (see video). These include assembly and classroom presentations, teacher workshops, motivational talks with learning disabled students, and outdoor activities including field trips. I also lead staff development and teacher training workshops.

My program is adaptable to the needs and schedule of your school. Teachers and administrators can customize the events of the day.

  • Assembly Presentations Join me for an illustrated lecture on the amazing relationships between animals and plants in California. Choose between nature observation, Sierra Nevada ecosystem, and coastal California ecosystem presentations.
  • Classroom Presentations What is it like to be a scientist who studies nature through art? Students are able to look through my original science and art journals and see a sketching demonstration.
  • Outdoor Activities If the school has easily accessible nature areas nearby, I can lead field studies and nature journaling activities with individual classes.
  • Teacher Workshops I can meet with teachers during the lunch break or after school. My presentation focuses on the most important aspects of using nature journals to integrate science, language arts, and art.
  • Programs for Learning Disabled Students I am severely dyslexic. I have developed many ways and strategies to overcome my problems with spelling, writing, and reading, and a philosophy that frames my condition in a positive way. I like to share these insights with learning disabled students.
  • Field Trips I can provide support and instruction for school field trips, leading environmental education activities, teaching natural history, and engaging students in nature journaling.
  • Staff Training Full-day training sessions including Field demonstrations of activities. Strategies for giving feedback and evaluating student work. Site evaluation to highlight resources for nature journaling activities. The conceptual framework for nature journaling including links to NGSS, and CCSS.

The suggested honorarium is $2500/ day plus travel expenses (if any). Do you need help generating funds for your school program? Schools have been very successful in raising funds through crowdfunding sites. Here is an example of a fundraising campaign by a school that raised $5000 in a few weeks see their video and related article. Resources: Croudfunding tips, Downloadable Croudfunding Resource GuideDonorsChoose.org, ClassWish.org


Keynote Addresses and Public Programs

I teach classes and workshops and give lectures and talks to many groups. Please contact me if you are the program chair from a group that would like to book me to deliver a keynote, workshop, or talk to your organization. It will be helpful if you let me know what sort of program you are interested in, the time and location, available dates, the number of people who usually attend, if the event is open to the public, and your available honorarium or instructor compensation. Suggested honorarium: $2000 for a half-day workshop, $3000 for a full-day class, $750 for a one hour lecture or talk.

Program Descriptions for Public Lectures

I have compiled lecture descriptions and a short biography that you can cut and paste into your newsletter or website.


 Public lecture: Thinking like a Naturalist: Reclaiming the Art of Natural History

Did you know that your powers of observation and curiosity are not static traits but skills that you can develop and enhance? How can you get more out of every nature ramble? Developments in neuropsychology have opened doors in our understanding of the brain and cognition and how you can train yourself to see more and to be more curious about what you discover. Naturalist and illustrator John Muir Laws will demonstrate simple and fun techniques you can incorporate into your own recreational nature study, classroom, or family outings. You will learn an adaptable three-step approach that will dramatically increase your memory and observational skills, focus and heighten your curiosity, help you think more creatively, and give you a framework for exploring mysteries in nature.

Public Lecture: This is your brain on paper: the art and science of keeping a nature journal

Open the door to rich discovery, better memory, and more fun in nature. What if you could change one simple thing and make yourself a more astute observer, curious explorer, creative thinker, deliberate investigator, and better naturalist? You can: it is keeping a notebook to record your discoveries and questions and to help you plan and document your investigations.
A journal is a ubiquitous part of a naturalist’s gear, more important than binoculars or a microscope. No tool has a more profound effect on your ability to see and think. It is much more than a sketchbook. It is a place to map out your observations and inquiry process as you document, explore, or reflect. There are many ways you can use a journal: you can draw, diagram, map, model, list, and write. Each approach changes the way you see and think. A new approach is a new lens on the world. Strategically combining these methods virtually guarantees new discoveries and will delight your mind.
If you have never used a nature journal before, you will learn simple techniques that you can apply immediately with no drawing experience required. If you already keep a notebook of your discoveries, learn ways to expand the scope of your practice, and open new doors to discovering the world. You will leave with a rich kit of tools to focus your observations, organize your thoughts, enhance recall of critical details, stimulate creativity, and expand the possibilities for your adventures and discoveries.

Public Lecture: Intentional Curiosity– Asking Questions and Questioning Answers

Learn how to train your mind to distill rich questions from your observations in nature and plot the blueprints for investigating or researching these mysteries in an authentic, dynamic, and practical way. The “scientific method” we all learned in school is a misinterpretation of the scientific process and not what most scientists do. Reframe your approach to scientific methodology to inform your own fieldwork and investigation. A perfect experience for teachers, home school parents, and anyone interested in taking their nature study to the next level

Public lecture: Finding Connection in Nature: The Coast Range of California

California’s Coast Ranges extend north-south for over 600 miles, more than two-thirds the length of the state. The variety of elevations, rock types, and climate zones in this group of mountain ranges supports a remarkable diversity of plant and animal life. Through an illustrated lecture, John (Jack) Muir Laws will lead us on a virtual walk across the Coast Ranges, exploring delightful relationships between plants and animals as we go. Jack will also discuss some of the conservation challenges in the region and what stewards of nature are doing to confront them. Whether you’re a botanist, birder or hiker, don’t miss this great opportunity to enrich your next exploration along the coast!

Public lecture: Finding Connection in Nature: The Sierra Nevada

John Muir said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”. Join us for an exciting evening of appreciation of some of the most astounding and unappreciated species in the Sierra Nevada. In this illustrated lecture, John (Jack) Muir Laws will help us follow a series of astounding relationships between plants and animals in the Sierra Nevada. You will be delighted and amazed by the subtle and essential threads that connect species. You can find many of these species on a mountain hike with your friends or family and share the stories with them. Jack will also discuss some of the conservation challenges in the Sierra Nevada and what stewards of nature are doing to confront them. Whether you’re a botanist, birder or backpacker, don’t miss this great opportunity to enrich your next exploration of the Range of Light!

Public lecture: Exploring the Sierra Nevada: nature, art, and stewardship

For six years, John (Jack) Muir Laws backpacked the Sierra Nevada to research and illustrate The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada, a pocket-size field guide to over 1,700 species found in the Sierra Nevada. The guide includes 2,710 original watercolor paintings that were reviewed by educators, naturalists, and scientists throughout the country, and was intensively field-tested by adults and youth. This guide helps visitors or residents of the Sierra understand and appreciate the biodiversity of the region. This comprehensive and easy to use guide allows botanists to identify the insects that come to their flowers, birders to identify the trees in which the birds perch, or hikers to identify the stars overhead at night. Jack will present an illustrated lecture about the natural history of the Sierra Nevada, and the process of creating a field guide including the logistics and techniques for painting in the field, identification tips, and wonderful natural history stories. He will also discuss some of the conservation challenges in the Sierra Nevada and what stewards of nature are doing to confront them. Whether you’re a botanist, birder, or backpacker, don’t miss this great opportunity to enrich your next exploration of the Range of Light!

Short Biography for 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.