Lewis & Clark

This week focuses on the journals of famous explorers and leaders of the Corps of Discovery Expedition, Meriweather Lewis and William Clark.
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Painting of Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea.

Famous explorers and leaders of the Corps of Discovery Expedition, Meriweather Lewis and William Clark took the charge through Jefferson’s newly purchased Louisiana territory. It was a vast and unknown land to the Americans and their task was to bring a detailed report of the potential trade routes and to find a path to the Pacific coast. Albeit not part of their initial orders from Thomas Jefferson, their journals detailing the flora and fauna of the territory was crucial not only for those who would push forward to settle in the new frontier but also for historians to have a very accurate picture of what life was like in the northwest before the expansion of settlers changed the landscape forever.

Field Guides, even when just for personal use, are incredibly important for any outdoor adventurer. Whether you’re using maps provided at state parks and trail heads or referencing the hunting log from your family cabin, we rely on the detailed notes of the wilderness we’re exploring to stay safe and informed of what we might find out there. Making your own field guides is a fun way to better understand the world around you and to add depth to your journaling experience for you to reflect on in future years. Although it seems daunting to start, there are a few easy steps you can take to start your own outdoor adventures:

Take photos/draw detailed pictures.


Sometimes writing out descriptions just isn’t enough to fully capture what we’re talking about and pictures, or for the artistically inclined, sketches can double as mini time capsules to track the growth of an area but also brighten up an otherwise full page of text.


Describe surroundings.


You’ll never know how long it will be until you reference your old notes or if someone else might read them later. Include small details that really bring the area you’re exploring to life! It helps create a more accurate picture and who knows, that strange butterfly you saw and took the time to mention could turn out to be a rare sighting for your area!



Do some preliminary research.


Depending on the time of year, some plants and animals may be more or less active so it’s important to make sure you’re not about to walk in an area known for baby bear cubs or poison ivy! You can always check with locals or a ranger if you’re unsure of where to start.



Now Try This Writing Promp
Writing Prompt:

Start a mini field guide of your backyard- what wildlife do you see out there? Writing about plants or weather patterns may seem dull at first, but to the careful eye there is a world of beauty just out your front door!

Writing Prompt:


 Authors: Colin Murdy and Anna Ratzburg

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