Fiona has loved art and nature since she was a little girl. In 2016, on her 13th birthday, she discovered nature journaling through a chance meeting with John Muir Laws, and she was thrilled to find something that combined these two things she adored. Since then, she has become a passionate nature journaler, naturalist, and advocate for nature. (Scroll to the bottom of this page to see some sample nature journal pages.)
Born and raised in the Sierra Foothills near Auburn, California, Fiona spends time daily in the wild lands near her home. She loves to look for mysteries in nature and explore them in the pages of her nature journal. Fiona also loves to draw, paint, craft, act (see her acting resume here), sing, harmonize, play cello, compose music, write stories, and speak German.
An avid birder since 2015, Fiona is a five-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. Since Fall 2018, Fiona has been a volunteer intern with Gold Country Avian Studies in Grass Valley, where she has learned how to extract and band birds. Since 2017, Fiona has volunteered her time as a participant in local Christmas Bird Counts, spending long, full days during her winter school breaks counting birds with a team. She has also volunteered as a co-leader of bird walks for the Sierra Foothills Audubon Society, a leader of bird walks for a local Girl Scout troupe, and she often speaks to groups about her passion for birding and nature journaling (see Presentations below). In February 2019, with the help of some local birding mentors and donors, Fiona installed 20 bluebird boxes in her neighborhood, which is a wildland-urban interface, and she is monitoring them for the California Bluebird Recovery Program.
SAMPLE NATURE JOURNAL PAGES Scroll to the bottom of this page to see examples from the more than 1,600 nature journal pages that Fiona has created since she began journaling in July 2016. Some of Fiona's artwork is available for purchase as blank greeting cards. See the Artist page for more info.
PRESENTATIONS, TEACHING, PUBLICATIONS, AND MORE In May 2020, Heyday Books published How to Teach Nature Journaling by John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren. This book features nature journal page contributions by several naturalists including Fiona. Examples of her nature journal pages appear on several pages througough the book. See a page of her work in the book here.
In February 2020, Fiona participated in a presentation and audience Q&A with John Muir Laws at the Gateway Science Museum in Chico, CA, called "Thinking Like a Naturalist: Reclaiming the Art of Natural History," an event co-sponsored by California State University Chico, and California Science Project, Inc. John Muir Laws invited Fiona to the stage in the second half of the evening to share some of her journal pages and have an on-stage conversation about nature journaling and curiosity. The two also took questions from the audience. Click here to watch.
In October 2019, Fiona participated in a Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) program (sponsored by the Nature Conservancy and in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management) that invited nature journalers to attend and document a prescribed burn in Orleans, CA. The Nature Conservancy published an article on nature.org about the program that included a page from several participant's journals, including Fiona's. Click here to read.
In September 2019, Fiona was one of 18 teachers invited to the first-ever Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference in Pacific Grove, CA. This event, attended by 275 students, brought together people who are passionate about nature, art, science, curiosity, and wonder to share ideas, learn from each other, support each other, inspire each other, and have fun together in a nature’s beauty. At this event, Fiona co-taught a class about curiosity in nature journaling with her mentor, John Muir Laws, called Down the Rabbit Hole: Curiosity and Wonder. During the Saturday keynote evening of the conference, Fiona gave a talk, introduced by John Muir Laws, on her nature journal practice, the joy of curiosity, and why we need to ask lots of questions. Click here to watch.
In April 2019, Fiona was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Wake Up to Nature event for the Environmental Volunteers (EV). This annual breakfast event raises funds for EV to send volunteer docents into San Francisco Bay Area area schools to give thousands of children first-hand experiences in nature, with the goal of nurturing the next generation of nature stewards. Fiona spoke to the 200+ assembled crowd about her own nature-rich childhood, her connection with nature through art and nature journaling, and why it is important for all of us to be connected to nature. Click here to watch.Click here for a transcript of her talk.
In October 2018, Fiona was honored to be featured as an Artist Explorer in a lecture series at The Foster, a museum in Palo Alto. In her talk, Fiona shared about her love of nature journaling and had an on-stage conversation about art, curiosity, flow states, and self critics with her mentor, John Muir Laws. Click here to watch.
Each November since 2016, Fiona has given a talk at the Central Valley Birding Symposium, an annual gathering of birders from across Northern California. Before the Saturday evening keynote address, Fiona has talked with the 300+ attendees about her experience at birding camps (for which this group has awarded her scholarships), her love of birds, and her nature journaling. Videos available on request.