Prince Snow Farm

1.30.2014

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Naturalist….


nat·u·ral·ist
ˈnaCHərəlist/
noun
  1. 1.
    an expert in or student of natural history.
    synonyms:natural historian, life scientist, wildlife expert; 
    biologist, botanist,zoologist, ornithologist, entomologist, ecologist


Whenever I hear the word "naturalist"….of course I think of Charles Darwin. But it's not evolution that enters my head….that's old news. No, it's the life Darwin led that enchants me:


….his travels...


….his way of thinking….


….his sketches.  Books and books of sketches…sketches of fruit and insects….


…of fungi and shells….


…ferns and finches.


I guess it's a romantic notion to have notebooks filled with remarkable pencil sketches of an endless variety of species.


But I think the notes must be just as magical. Darwin's notes and progressive thinking altered science…and ultimately, the world we live in. His observations, his care about living things, variety, differences, and change were painstakingly recorded.




I cannot even imagine the joy that a naturalist must experience in their daily work.


I gathered all of these seed heads today in the snow...



…and as I did, I thought about the lesson I am going to teach on dispersal...


…but I also couldn't get Rachel Carson out of my brain….


….her dedication to conservation of habitats, her study of the sea, and her fight to inform people of the dangers of pesticides. I have a little Rachel Carson pamphlet from her years writing for the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, and I treasure it. 



I gathered the specimen quickly as the sunlight faded….



…and when I brought them in, and laid  them out  to sort and store…my mind swirled with thoughts of the naturalists whose work changed our world forever. Darwin, Carson, Goodall, and Comstock …..my heroes...



I appreciate every ounce of effort they expended as they researched, studied, dreamt and fought for our environment….for Earth's organisms past and present….for the future of our world.
I respect their forward-thinking and dedication.



34 comments:

  1. What is amazing about so many of these people is the fight it took for them to have their voices heard.

    Now, I want to see your sketches of your finds.

    Today is cold (for us) and probably the first gloomy day in 6 months. We bundled up to walk Lulu on the beach and came across the local kindergarten class out on the beach. Our local elementary school sits right on the water and all grades use the beach for science lessons. Today, the 5 year olds were asked to take their orange buckets (a class set) and find 20 of anything they wanted. A friend was volunteering in his daughter's class today and I asked him where his "twenty items" were. He proudly showed me the work of his group. The girls had each collected 20 stones and created a starfish with each girl's stones being one ray of the starfish. I loved that they were learning math, science and nature while playing on the beach. I would have added a writing component to the day considering they had nearly a 2:1 ration of students to adults.

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    1. I agree Carol….so many naturalists and scientists have fought a lifetime for what they believed in. Sketches….hmmmm.I promise I will at least try. :)

      How wonderful that the school is right there! Do you know if they need a science teacher (or two)? I think we have had enough of the cold.

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  2. Nature really is so fascinating. I agree with you and also anthropology has always interested me.

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    1. Yes Michelle, anthropology has always thrilled me too!

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  3. I respect your knowledge of these great people and your thought processes ... you and poeple like you will carry the fight on until someday, we can only hope, man understands that we are stewards of our earth ... it is not a commodity to be used for our benefit. I had the privilege of spending an evening with Jane Goodall last fall at the International Crane Foundation's 40 year anniverary. What an honor and she is everything you think she is, an amazing person. There is another name to add to your list ... George Archebald, founder of the International Crane Foundation. He is not so well know, but has traveled the world over and saught solutions to the save the Crane habitates and the threatened Crane speicies while at the same time helping the people who are effected by the needs of the cranes so all will benefit. Look him up ... you will be impressed. I am also reading "A Sand County ALMANAC" by Aldo Leopold, a must read for anyone who believes in conservation. As you teach others, you stand among the greats, you share their conviction and you promote the cause. Thank you, thank you ...

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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    1. Thanks so much Andrea! Oh an evening with Jane Goodall! How lucky! I will look up George Archebald as well. Thanks for the idea. Also, I am looking for something new to read…so "A Sand County Almanac" may be it! I appreciate you coming by, and it is truly my pleasure to share knowledge with others….

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  4. Very thoughtful post, my friend. I admire your organization.. I guess I'm more of a free spirit and let the seeds find their own way.. lol! I did a post today on things around our farm that are pushing up and trying to bloom.. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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    1. Oh Teresa I was not gathering for planting…but for my class to examine!!!! :) I also let nature scatter the perennial seeds….and since this was a lesson on dispersal….how perfect!!!

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  5. You have captured the "Beauty in all seasons".
    Your pictures are lovely.
    Rose

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  6. Lovely photos, Monica! You've touched on many of my heroes! Darwin, Carson, Goodall! Now I have to find out who Comstock is! Have you read Carson's "The Sense of Wonder?" I thought it was a powerful book for parents and educators. I had the thrill of seeing an exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science that included a couple of the finches that Darwin collected. I bet that you are very familiar with Howard Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligences. I almost cried for joy when he came out with his naturalistic intelligence ~ suddenly, there I was! You've probably had some of those kiddos over the years in your classrooms ~ in fact, I suspect that you have a strong street of naturalistic intelligence in you. How could you not???? Have a happy weekend!

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    1. Thanks FB! I do agree that I probably could be labeled as naturalistic in intelligence….although many dispute this as even being one of the true intelligences. I guess we are proof :)

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  7. Streak!!!! Not street! Oh yeah, a definite highlight of my life was attending a talk by Goodall on her work with the Gombe chimps! :)

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  8. Monica, every time I read your writing, I get choked up with emotion. The way you see and feel your life is truly above and beyond most people I come across in my daily life. I love how you look at life. Yes to Darwin. I'll read up on Rachel Carson. Oh how I would love to sit and talk about every detail of life and science with you...every. detail. Your wisdom is astonishing... How I wish my 6th grader had you for science...the passion you have... xo

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    1. Oh Jen, you flatter me:) I am not so sure I am wise….just observant…and it brings me joy to write and talk about nature. Let me know when you are going to arrive!!

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  9. Monica, you had me from the beginning with your words enchantment, magical and dream, but it's your photographs of seeds in the snow that are simply divine. I can't help but wonder if those explorer, discoverers, thinking change makers would have use a camera if they could and all theses lovely drawings would not exist! Goodall is another favourite of mine, her work inspiring me to travel to see the mountain gorillas many years ago. So lovely to see that people so adept at using modern technology also seek simple things in life. Your pursuit of the Naturalist is similar to mine. Lovely as always to see your world from over here.

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    1. Thanks Suzi. How awesome that you traveled to see mountain gorillas! I think people in general seek simple….I just don't think they all realize it yet!

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  10. I too appreciate the wonder, the curiosity that leads to questions unasked that these scientists and artists have brought to the light. Without people like this, we would still be in the dark about many things. What saddens me however, is how many species are still dying; all I could ever do is speculate as to why, and say it is our pollution that is killing off starfish...have you seen what is happening out on the west coast of Washington to these magnificent creatures? I hope that those who have devoted their minds and lives to studying nature and finding solutions will learn why these animals are dying. It all starts with the passion, the study, they documentation, then the hard work of going out into the field.

    Lovely photos my dear! Anita

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    1. Oh I agree Anita! I have researched or own locally threatened and endangered marine life and mammals, and it is heartbreaking. I do hope as you do, that a change will come….thanks for the visit.

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  11. I hope 2014 proves to be a good year for you and yours.

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  12. I have a new blog address.....please come visit so I know that it's working..

    http://simplybalisha.blogspot.com/

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    1. I have visited Balisha! I can still see your old blog if I try….you will be able to rescue it I am sure!

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  13. . . . and don't forget my two all time favourites: Sir Joseph Banks and Edith Holden.
    I really enjoyed this post!
    Kirk

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    1. Oh thanks for the names Kirk. I am making a lists of naturalists I must read up on! I have thought about you and AGA often lately….your Christmas adventure thoroughly enchanted me….however, I was so surprised that you will be moving, but understand your reasoning. I hope all works out for the best, and you are gardening before you know it. Please be sure to keep blogging and keep in touch!

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    2. Don't worry - I am enjoying blogging and when we move to Australia a new adventure will start as we will have a house to build!

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  14. Unfortunately, I don't share your theory that all people seek simple. When a person's god is money, simple goes out the window or becomes fodder to be used by those who love money against those who seek simple. Dave, my husband, had a favorite "naturalist" but, for the life of me, I cannot remember his name. He wrote several excellent books; if I remember, I'll come back and let you know for I think you'd enjoy him. As to Darwin, what a incredibly sad life!

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    1. Well…I guess I am saying they seek simple without possibly knowing it yet :) I would love to hear your husband's naturalist.

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  15. Very nice post for the blog party! Here in New York, I have come to read alot of John Burroughs. Check him out! Aloha and enjoy the party!

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    1. I will check him out! Thanks to my readers, I have plenty to read now!

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    1. Thanks!!!!! You have made my day!

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    2. Yes, I agree with The Mrs above!!!

      And your children and school kids are lucky to have you!!

      Cheers!

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    3. Thanks Loi! This is my idea of fun! And as for sharing this with my students….it is a pleasure! In fact I have had several of them bring in seeds to share now….it is a bit contagious!

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Thanks for chatting!

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