BE ADVISED: On Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21, nearby events at Exposition Park and the University of Southern California will impact traffic, parking, and wayfinding in the area. Please consider riding the Metro E (Expo) Line and exiting at USC/Expo station.

Nature Memory Mapping

Laura's nature memory map of a "lizard invasion" in a backyard


In this memory mapping activity, students will have the opportunity to choose a special nature memory to record through drawings and visual mapping. This activity can be done anytime anywhere — a nature memory is all you need.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will strengthen scientific observation skills by looking and listening closely.
  • Students will practice life drawing skills and express themselves through art.
  • Students will cultivate a sense of ownership of their space and stewardship of the natural world.

See learning standards at the bottom.


5–10 minutes to introduce the activity
5–20 minutes for activity


  • Paper, journal, or notebook
  • Drawing/writing utensils


  1. Think about a nature place you visited recently.
    It can be your schoolyard, your backyard, a local park, the beach, the mountains, or even a vacant lot.
  2. Close your eyes and go back to that place.
    Remember the place by asking yourself (or having a teacher ask) a series of questions while your eyes are closed. Pause and give yourself time to think between each question. What did you see, feel, smell, hear? What living things were there (plants, animals, mushrooms, etc)? What non-living things were there (rocks, streams, tree stumps, etc)? Who was there with you? What things did you do?
  3. Start drawing your nature memory map.
    You don’t need to be a perfectionist, using stick figures and line drawings is fine. Looking at examples of other nature memory maps can be helpful (see link below).
  4. Write notes on what you saw/heard/smelled/touched/did.
    Point out the nest you saw in the tree, or the spider web you found on the building. Short sentences with descriptive words help to bring the nature memory map to life!
  5. Share your map.
    Have others read your map and learn from your story about nature in L.A.



If you would like to share a picture of your nature map on social media: @natureinLA #natureinla
(FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter) or e-mail to

NGSS Tie-Ins

Science and Engineering:
Asking questions
Obtaining, evaluating, & communicating information

VAPA Tie-Ins

Aesthetic perception, creative expression, connections, relationships, applications