Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference 2019

The first annual Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference was held September 12-15, 2019, in Pacific Grove, California.

You can see posts, photos of field trips, and images of journals from the gathering on our Nature Journal Club Facebook page and look for our hashtag on Instagram: #wildwonderconference.  

Here is a PDF of Class Descriptions from 2019.

The event was held at the Mott Training Center on the campus of Asilomar, with additional classes and events at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and other local venues.

Check out the Blog Posts for links to videos of talks from the 2019 conference.



The planning team is deeply grateful that so many wonderful teachers and naturalists are able to join us for this event and share their ideas and experience with you. Check out the list below and scroll down to the bottom of this page for teacher bios. (Note: The list of teachers is subject to change.)

  • Deb Brady
  • Andrea Dingeldein
  • Stephanie A. Dole
  • Christine Elder
  • Fiona Gillogly
  • Catherine Hamilton
  • Roseann Hanson
  • Hannah Hinchman
  • Obi Kaufmann
  • Mattias Lanas
  • John Muir Laws
  • Clare Walker Leslie
  • Emilie Lygren
  • Abby McBride
  • Marley Peifer
  • Mark Simmons
  • Emily Underwood
  • Laurie Wigham
  • David Wimpfheimer


9am-2pm: Optional workshop for teachers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
7am-4pm: Optional pelagic sketching trip with Debi Shearwater and Abby McBride
4:30-6:30pm: Check in at Mott Training Center
8-9:30pm: Welcome Event with guest speakers, including Obi Kaufmann, Abby McBride, and Amy Tan

8:30-10am, 10:30-12pm: Classroom workshops
9-11:30am: Nature Journaling Field Trips
12-1pm: Lunch Break (boxed lunches may be available for preorder)
1-2:30pm, 3-4:30pm: Classroom workshops
1:30-3pm: Nature Journaling Field Trips
5:30-7:30pm: Journal Social Gathering with appetizers and drinks
8-9:30pm: Evening Program: Talk by Claire Walker Leslie

8:30-10am, 10:30-12pm: Classroom workshops
9-11:30am: Nature Journaling Field Trips
12-1pm: Lunch Break (boxed lunches may be available for preorder)
1-2:30pm, 3-4:30pm: Classroom workshops
1:30-3pm: Nature Journaling Field Trips
5:30-7:30pm: Journal Social Gathering with appetizers and drinks
8-9:30pm: Evening Program: Talks by Fiona Gillogly and John Muir Laws

8:30-10am, 10:30-12 pm: Classroom workshops
9-11:30am: Nature Journaling Field Trips
12-1pm: Lunch Break (boxed lunches may be available for preorder)
1-2:30pm, 3-4:30 pm: Classroom workshops
1:30-3pm: Nature Journaling Field Trips
5pm: Go home inspired!

*Note: This is a draft schedule and is subject to change. The schedule on Sched is the MOST updated version.



Deb Brady is an illustrator, graphic artist and avid nature enthusiast. Her day job as sign artist at Trader Joe’s, where hand lettering and layout of shelf signs and display boards awoke a whole new respect for words, creative lettering, and styles, and made her aware of how they can all impact images on a page.

Andrea Dingeldein (The Local Naturalist) is a marine-focused science illustrator based in Pacific Grove. As a freelance illustrator, she works closely with researchers, marine laboratories, parks, and environmental organizations to create art that communicates scientific information in a clear and engaging manner in order to make science more accessible to the public. She is also the field sketching instructor for the Science Illustration Certificate Program at CSU-Monterey Bay, and graduated from the program in 2016. You can often find her with her head in local tidepools, checking under rocks for the weird and wonderful invertebrates and fishes that inhabit this dynamic and extreme environment! http://www.thelocalnaturalist.com/

Stephanie A. Dole, Ph.D. has been educating the public about insects since 1997. She has extensive experience as a scientist, educator, and researcher. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Entomology from University of California, Davis and her Ph.D. in Entomology from Michigan State University. The National Science Foundation funded her Ph.D. dissertation research on the diversity of tropical bark beetles, which included the description of 5 previously unknown beetle species, and one new genus. She has taught at Texas A&M University (General and Aquatic Entomology Laboratories), University of San Francisco (Biology of Insects), and CuriOdyssey museum (Pre-K Science Together classes). She has given presentations on insects to the public at University of California Davis, Texas A&M University, Michigan State University’s Bug House, Michigan and California public schools, Filoli Gardens, CuriOdyssey museum, Bee Keepers Guild of San Mateo County, and California Academy of Sciences. She has extensive field experience collecting and studying insects in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Guyana, Thailand, the Sonoran Desert, the Sierra Nevada, and throughout California. http://www.beetlelady.com/about/

Christine Elder is a naturalist, educator, and artist who focuses on the intersection of art and wildlife conservation. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Biology and a Graduate Certificate in Science Illustration from the University of California. In her work as a professional biological illustrator, she creates art and designs for museum exhibits, trail signage, and publications for state and national parks, environmental groups, and research scientists. Her true love is teaching, with a mission to inspire an environmental conservation ethic in youth and families through a nature sketching and journaling practice. Her motto is “drawing to learn while learning to draw.” She teaches nature sketching and painting courses in her online school, Drawn to Nature and shares sketching and painting tips on her YouTube Channel. Her insatiable love of travel regularly takes her throughout the Western Hemisphere from the Arctic tundra of Alaska to the lowland rainforests of Borneo, as she sketches the flora and fauna she encounters. She teaches workshops to both adults and youth in such diverse places as Mexico, Honduras, the Caribbean, and the United States. She makes her home in central Oregon at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, where the sagebrush meets the pines; teaching and making art from her studio in downtown Bend. https://christineelder.com/

Fiona Gillogly, age 16, has loved art and nature since she was a little girl. In 2016, when she discovered nature journaling and the work of John Muir Laws, she was thrilled to find something that combined these two things she adored. Fiona has become a passionate nature journaler and naturalist, and she has completed more than 1,200 journal pages since she began journaling. Born and raised in the Sierra Foothills near Auburn, California, Fiona has attended Waldorf schools since the age of 3. She spends time daily in the wild lands near her home, and she enjoys looking for mysteries in nature and exploring them in the pages of her nature journal. Fiona also loves to draw, paint, craft, act, sing, harmonize, play cello, compose music, write stories, and speak German. An avid birder since 2015, Fiona is a four-time recipient of the Central Valley Birding Club Youth Scholarship, enabling her to attend summer teen birding camps to further develop her skill and passion in birding. She especially enjoys the music of birdsong and she loves to bird by ear. Fiona is a volunteer in the bird banding and monitoring program with Gold Country Avian Studies in Grass Valley, and she has also volunteered her time as a participant in Christmas Bird Counts, and as a co-leader of bird walks for the Sierra Foothills Audubon Society. Fiona has given talks on her birding and nature journaling experiences at her local Audubon Society meetings; at the keynote dinner for the Central Valley Birding Symposium, an annual gathering of birders from across Northern California; in the Artist Explorer lecture series at The Foster, a museum in Palo Alto; and as the 2019 keynote speaker at the Wake Up to Nature fundraising event for the Environmental Volunteers (EV).  Fiona is also an artist with a line of blank greeting cards featuring her nature art. Visit her web site to see her cards and some sample nature journal pages: https://www.fionasongbird.com/

Catherine Hamilton holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Fine Arts from Bennington College, and has taught painting and drawing at the Rhode Island School of Design and other institutions throughout the 27 years she has been a professional artist. Catherine’s fine art can be found in private, corporate, and small museum collections in the US and abroad. Her illustrations and writing are featured in books such as the The Warbler Guide (Princeton University) and Good Birders Still Don’t Wear White (Houghton Mifflin), and in journals and magazines including Nature, Living Bird, Bird Observer, and Orion Magazine. Catherine is spotlighted in the 2012 HBO documentary “Birders: the Central Park Effect,” and is the presenter for the 2018 short film “A Reason For Hope,” where, in her role as ZEISS Sports Optics’ Ambassador for Birding, Catherine worked with partner organization Birdlife International to help promote conservation awareness through birding and art. Her sketchbooks have been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad. Catherine also illustrated the Evolution series of board games, distributed world-wide and mentioned in the journal Nature as the best strategy board game incorporating the theme of evolution into its game play. http://mydogoscar.com/birdspot/

Roseann Hanson is a naturalist and explorer who has been keeping nature journals for 40 years. She studied journalism and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, and has worked in the American Southwest, Mexico, and East Africa as a conservationist, naturalist, and writer.  She has authored a dozen natural history and outdoor books, including the Southern Arizona Nature Almanac and San Pedro River: A Discovery Guide, both of which include her nature journal data and art. Roseann is a lapidary, metalsmith, and watercolor artist, and currently is coordinator for the trans-disciplinary art & science program at the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, part of the University of Arizona College of Science. She was named a Fellow of both the Explorers Club in the U.S. and the Royal Geographical Society in Great Britain for her conservation and expedition work. http://www.exploringoverland.com/constantapprentice

Hannah Hinchman is a freelance artist, writer, and calligrapher who has been keeping journals for more than 35 years. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and she is the author of three books: A Life in Hand: Creating the Illuminated Journal, A Trail Through Leaves: the Journal as a Path to Place, and Little Things in a Big Country: An Artist and Her Dog on the Rocky Mountain Front. She has been teaching field journal workshops all over the U.S. for more than 20 years. She lives in Montana. More on Hannah here.

Obi Kaufmann grew up in the East San Francisco Bay Area as the son of an astrophysicist and a psychologist, and he spent most of high school studying calculus and breaking away on weekends to scramble around Mount Diablo, mapping its creeks, oak forests, and sage mazes. Kaufmann’s passion for adventuring in California’s unique, natural world did not subside into adulthood, as he continues to spend most days in its rugged backcountry, enjoying more nights without a roof than under one. Ten years ago, Kaufmann walked away from a burgeoning career as a gallery artist to produce his first book, a love letter to his home in the wild, his thesis writ large – The California Field Atlas (Heyday, 2017). The 552-page volume topped the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list for more than three months and was the recipient of many awards including the 2018 Gold Medal from the San Francisco Commonwealth Club for Significant Contribution to Publishing and the 2018 NCIBA Book of the Year. Continuing what he has termed the “investigation into the infinite creativity behind the world’s most beautiful place,” Kaufmann is producing what will be a six-volume series on his own take on California natural history. The five books to follow the Atlas will each focus on one aspect of California’s natural world, including Water, Forests, Coasts, Deserts, and Fire. The second in the series, The State of Water, Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource, is available now from Heyday Books. www.coyoteandthunder.com.

Mattias Lanas grew up in Santiago, Chile, where family visits to the seashore fostered a love for natural history. After graduating with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Earth Systems from Stanford, he completed the Science Illustration Certificate Graduate Program at California State University, Monterey Bay. Today, Mattias lives in Bogotá, Colombia, where he spends his time “botanizing” and searching for rare plants, teaching art classes, leading field sketching trips, and working as a freelance illustrator. In fall 2019, he will head to Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship to work on a botanical illustration project at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (France’s Natural History Museum). When not in the studio, Mattias can be found reading about insects, or doing pottery. https://www.mattiaslanas.com/

John 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 make them a part of everyday life. 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). His latest release is Sierra Wildflowers: A Hiker’s Guide (2019). 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, which has 8,000+ members, and he offers monthly free nature sketching workshops, field trips, and events, connecting people with nature through art. https://www.johnmuirlaws.com/

Clare Walker Leslie grew up outdoors playing in the woods and fields near Philadelphia. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Art History from Carleton College. Since then, her career has evolved by combining the study of nature and drawing / writing / painting / teaching as a means of connecting both herself and her students with where we live, season by season and year upon year. Self taught as a naturalist, she has used her own ongoing nature journals, since l978 (and now numbering 50), as a method for continuing her study of nature outdoors, no matter where she is–city, country, her home, far away. She has taught at Williams College, Harvard’s Landscape Design Program, College of the Atlantic, Antioch New England, and many Audubon Centers, and is a member of the National Guild of Scientific Illustrators and the international Artists For Nature Foundation. She teaches nature drawing, field nature study, and nature journaling, helping all ages to better connect with their own local places. She is the author of 13 books, including Drawn to Nature: From the Journals of Clare Walker Leslie; Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You; Nature Drawing: A Tool for Learning; The Art of Field Sketching; A Year in Nature: A Memoir of Solace; and The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You. Her books are used internationally with several now in foreign translations, demonstrating that the love of and curiosity for nature is an international language. http://www.clarewalkerleslie.com/

Emilie Lygren is a writer and educator who delights in shaping learning experiences that connect people with themselves, one another, and nature. Her core values of authenticity and curiosity help her to create learning communities where participants are encouraged to show up as themselves to engage in meaningful growth and discovery. Some of Emilie’s most joyful moments have come while she’s been outside with youth. She has led peers on backpacking trips in New Hampshire, mentored those new to environmental education, and leads trips to Joshua Tree National Park with 50 high schoolers each spring. Emilie also spent four years working at residential outdoor schools in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where she spent every day hiking exploring the redwoods, beaches, and oaks with groups of Bay Area youth. In 2014, she was recognized for her dedication to the field when she was named Northern California Environmental Educator of the Year by the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. Currently, Emilie is a curriculum developer with the BEETLES Project at the Lawrence Hall of Science. There, Emilie designs educational resources that put students and nature at the center of outdoor science learning. Emilie is also a passionate nature journaler, and shares the power of this practice in workshops and as a co-author with John Muir Laws of the second edition of Opening the World Through Nature Journaling. In her free time, Emilie loves being in nature, talking to strangers, cooking food for friends, making music with her band, and organizing community events.

Abby McBride is a sketch biologist who writes and illustrates stories about science and nature. She has a biology degree from Williams College, a science writing degree from MIT, and a tendency to wander around outside with a sketchbook. After college Abby took the obvious career path and did some farming in Spain, became an illustrator in New York City, manned the helm of a Maine lobster boat, bird-blogged across the western United States, studied boobies on an uninhabited Galapagos island, coached swimming, taught piano lessons, assisted an invasion ecology textbook revision, and worked as a pastry chef (in roughly that order). Upon completing grad school she wrote for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, sketched icebergs in Iceland and giraffes in Kenya and babblers in Borneo, developed a communications program for the American Ornithological Society, and somehow ended up riding a three-speed bicycle from Italy to Budapest. Abby recently returned from a year in New Zealand, sketching seabirds and writing stories about seabird conservation for National Geographic and Fulbright. She is currently sketchbiologizing on the coast of Maine. http://www.abbymcbride.com/

Marley Peifer is an artist, gardener, tracker, and educator. He longs for the reintegration of art with science and words with images, a synthesis that he develops in his journaling. He is passionate about learning, teaching, and fine-tuning awareness in nature. Few realms are untouched by his rampant curiosity and he is always ready to observe and philosophize about nature, culture, and Hymenopterans. He laments the overspecialization in today’s world and believes that a holistic perspective and a diversity of skills is necessary now more than ever. http://marleypeifer.com/

Mark Simmons is a freelance illustrator and cartoonist, specializing in comics and graphic recording. He teaches figure drawing at the Academy of Art University, and has run classes in cartooning, sketching, and wildlife illustration for SF Bay Area institutions such as the Nature Journal Club, the San Francisco Zoo, the Cartoon Art Museum. For more info, see http://www.ultimatemark.com

Emily Underwood is an artist and educator based in Central California. Blending her background in both science and art, she explores landscape histories through the mediums of painting, printmaking, and bookmaking. She has degrees in Earth Sciences and Geology from UC Santa Cruz and Oregon State University, and completed the Scientific Illustration program at CSU Monterey Bay in 2013. She has been an Artist-in-Residence at Joshua Tree National Park Service, in Alaska with the U.S. Forest Service and at the Elkhorn Slough Foundation in Moss Landing. Her artwork has appeared in books, magazines, journals, museums, interpretive panels, and galleries. She teaches art/science classes at U.C. Santa Cruz, with school groups, and in various local workshops. Her work can be viewed at underwoodillustration.com

After nearly three decades doing graphic design and illustration in the tech industry, Laurie Wigham fell out of love with the computer and went back to making art without an undo button and getting ink stains on her fingers. She set up the SF Sketchers Meetup group 7 years ago and found that lots of other people wanted to get off their screens and look at the world with their own eyes again. She paints in the wilderness and on city streets, and her watercolors have been shown at galleries around the Bay Area. She has taught at SF State’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus, the Academy of Art University, the Cal Naturalist program, and during her artist residencies in national parks. You can see her work on her website, lauriewigham.com, and follow her @lauriewigham on Facebook, Instagram and Flickr.

David Wimpfheimer is a naturalist and a biologist with a passion for the birds and natural history of the West. During his twenty years of expeditions, he has led numerous local classes for the Point Reyes Field Institute, Marin Agricultural Land Trust and the California Academy of Sciences, as well as tours to Mexico, Alaska, Scotland and other regions for groups including the Smithsonian Institution, Wild Wings, and Elder hostel. Although the majority of David’s field trips are geared toward teaching and interpreting the language of the avian world, he is just as experienced in teaching the rich diversity of the greater natural world. From whale watching expeditions to wildflower forays, he will make every visit to the natural world memorable and enjoyable. https://www.calnaturalist.com/