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 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.