Schedule an Event or Class

I teach classes and workshops and give lectures and talks to many groups. Please contact me if you are the program chair from a group that would like to book me to deliver a workshop or talk to your organization. It will be helpful if you let me know what sort of program you are interested in, the time and location, available dates, the number of people who usually attend, if the event is open to the public, and your available honorarium or instructor compensation. Suggested honorarium: $1250 for a half day workshop, $2500 for a full day class, $500 for a one hour lecture or talk.

If you are a teacher or school administrator and would like to schedule a program at your school, please click here.

Program Descriptions

I have compiled lecture descriptions and a short biography that you can cut and paste into your newsletter or website.


 

Public Lecture: This is your brain on paper: the art and science of keeping a nature journal

Open the door to rich discovery, better memory, and more fun in nature. What if you could change one simple thing and make yourself a more astute observer, curious explorer, creative thinker, deliberate investigator, and better naturalist? You can: it is keeping a notebook to record your discoveries and questions, and to help you plan and document your investigations.
A journal is a ubiquitous part of a naturalist’s gear, more important than binoculars or a microscope. No tool has a more profound effect on your ability to see and think. It is much more than a sketchbook. It is a place to map out your observations and inquiry process as you document, explore, or reflect. There are many ways you can use a journal: you can draw, diagram, map, model, list, and write. Each approach changes the way you see and think. A new approach is a new lens on the world. Strategically combining these methods virtually guarantees new discoveries and will delight your mind.
If you have never used a nature journal before, you will learn simple techniques that you can apply immediately with no drawing experience required. If you already keep a notebook of your discoveries, learn ways to expand the scope of your practice and open new doors to discovering the world. You will leave with a rich kit of tools to focus your observations, organize your thoughts, enhance recall of critical details, stimulate creativity, and expand the possibilities for your adventures and discoveries.

Public lecture: Thinking like a Naturalist: Reclaiming the Art of Natural History

Did you know that your powers of observation and curiosity are not static traits but skills that you can develop and enhance? How can you get more out of every nature ramble? Developments in neuropsychology have opened doors in our understanding of the brain and cognition and how you can train yourself to see more and to be more curious about what you discover. Naturalist and illustrator John Muir Laws will demonstrate simple and fun techniques you can incorporate into your own recreational nature study, classroom, or family outings. You will learn an adaptable four-step approach that will dramatically increase your memory and observational skills, focus and heighten your curiosity, help you think more creatively, and give you a framework for exploring mysteries in nature. It is useful to have simple heuristics to focus your observation technique and scientific investigation process. The “scientific method” we all learned in school is a misinterpretation of scientific process and not what most scientists do. Reframe your approach to scientific methodology to inform your own fieldwork and investigation. A perfect experience for teachers, home school parents, and anyone interested in taking their nature study to the next level.

Public lecture: Finding Connection in Nature: The Coast Range of California

California’s Coast Ranges extend north-south for over 600 miles, more than two-thirds the length of the state. The variety of elevations, rock types, and climate zones in this group of mountain ranges supports a remarkable diversity of plant and animal life. Through an illustrated lecture, John (Jack) Muir Laws will lead us on a virtual walk across the Coast Ranges, exploring delightful relationships between plants and animals as we go. Jack will also discuss some of the conservation challenges in the region and what stewards of nature are doing to confront them. Whether you’re a botanist, birder or hiker, don’t miss this great opportunity to enrich your next exploration along the coast!

Public lecture: Finding Connection in Nature: The Sierra Nevada

John Muir said “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”. Join us for an exciting evening of appreciation of some of the most astounding and unappreciated species in the Sierra Nevada. In this illustrated lecture, John (Jack) Muir Laws will help us follow a series of astounding relationships between plants and animals in the Sierra Nevada. You will be delighted and amazed by the subtle and essential threads that connect species. You can find many of these species on a mountain hike with your friends or family and share the stories with them. Jack will also discuss some of the conservation challenges in the Sierra Nevada and what stewards of nature are doing to confront them. Whether you’re a botanist, birder or backpacker, don’t miss this great opportunity to enrich your next exploration of the Range of Light!

Public lecture: Exploring the Sierra Nevada: nature, art, and stewardship

For six years, John (Jack) Muir Laws backpacked the Sierra Nevada to research and illustrate The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada, a pocket size field guide to over 1,700 species found in the Sierra Nevada. The guide includes 2,710 original watercolor paintings was reviewed by educators, naturalists, and scientists throughout the country, and was intensively field tested by adults and youth. This guide helps visitors or residents of the Sierra understand and appreciate the biodiversity of the region. This comprehensive and easy to use guide allows botanists to identify the insects that come to their flowers, birders to identify the trees in which the birds perch, or hikers to identify the stars overhead at night. Jack will present an illustrated lecture about the natural history of the Sierra Nevada, and the process of creating a field guide including the logistics and techniques for painting in the field, identification tips, and wonderful natural history stories. He will also discuss some of the conservation challenges in the Sierra Nevada and what stewards of nature are doing to confront them.Whether you’re a botanist, birder or backpacker, don’t miss this great opportunity to enrich your next exploration of the Range of Light!

Short Biography

Naturalist, educator and artist John (Jack) Muir Laws is in love with the natural world and has lived his live sharing this passion with others. He is trained as a wildlife biologist and is a Research Associate of the California Academy of Sciences. Jack has taught nature education teacher since 1984 in California, Wyoming, and Alaska. He teaches the tools to help people develop as naturalists and stewards including, ways to improve your observation, memory and curiosity, conservation biology, natural history,  scientific illustration, and field sketching all while having fun and falling more deeply in love with the world.  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. Laws 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). 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, monthly free nature sketching workshops, field trips and events, connecting people with nature through art.