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If you're anything like us, you're always investigating and asking questions about the world around you! Keeping a field journal is a great way to keep track of all the ideas and observations you have every day!

We'd like to give special thanks to the Montana History Center for helping us with this episode!
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Squeaks and I are just getting back from a hike!

Where we live, there are tons of different kinds of birds, plants, and rocks — so many that it’s hard to keep track of them all! So Squeaks and I use a special tool to help us record our discoveries: a field journal!

A field journal is a special kind of notebook that scientists use when they’re working outside. They use it to record important facts about the things they see out in the world, and their own thoughts and questions about what they’re seeing. And you can use a field journal to do the same thing!

If it’s spring where you live, like it is here, maybe you’ve started to see lots of flowers. You can use your field journal to get to know the flowers in your neighborhood! Your field journal can be anything you can write in: a notebook, a binder, or even just a few pieces of paper stapled together.

When you’re ready to study the flowers, just grab your field journal, some pencils and crayons, and a grown-up. Then, head outside to find as many flowers as you can! When you first get outside, be sure to write down the date, or have a grown-up do it for you, and then make some notes about the weather.

Is it hot or cold outside? Has it rained recently? Then, find a flower and examine it carefully.

Ask yourself questions like: where is the flower growing? What kind of soil is it in? Is there a lot of sunlight in that spot?

Are there bugs hanging out around the flower? Write down everything you see and think about when you’re looking at the flower in your field journal. Next comes the fun part: draw what you see!

Scientists make very careful field drawings to help keep track of every detail of what they’re studying. You can draw the different petals and leaves on the flower, and show how big it is. The more carefully you look and draw, the better you’ll get to know each flower!

When you’re done drawing, you can choose another flower to study next. Once you’ve studied a few flowers, you can be done for the day! Now that you’ve started your field journal, you can come back to look at the flowers again tomorrow, or even in a few days.

Then do the same thing: write down things you see, like whether the flower is getting lots of sunlight, or if there are bugs flying around. And draw another picture of it! Over time, you’ll be able to see how the flower is changing — like if it grows more after it rains a lot.

That’s why scientists keep field journals! So they can remember the things they learn, and look through their notes to see how things change over time. And you can use your field journal to study more than just flowers!

For example, if there are lots of birds around, you can use your field journal to keep track of them, too! When you’re studying birds and other animals, you can pay attention to things like what time of day you see them, if they’re alone or in groups, what sounds they make, and what they’re eating! Ah, you're right Squeaks!

We haven’t even talked about one of the best parts of having a field journal! You can decorate it! You can cover it in cool stickers and drawings like we have!

Do you have a super cool field journal that you’d like to share with us? We’d love to see it! Grab a grownup and send us an email at

We'd like to give a big thanks to Google Making Science for helping us make this episode! Thanks, and we’ll see you next time here at the Fort!