The Naturalist Approach

In a day an age in which our culture emphasizes a lifestyle of moving from one job to another (one community after another), the time for slowing-down and getting-to-know your “place” has come.  If you ask yourself how many states have you lived in just long enough to get to know one or two parks, a hot-spot or two, but not long enough to know seasonal patterns or the return of your natural neighbors- it is time for you to start practicing the “naturalist approach“.

We are naturally curious and feel connected to the natural world as children.  Often we get caught up in the routine of life that we forget to nurture these essential parts of our souls.

The “naturalist approach” puts us back into a place where we are intentionally taking the time to notice what is happening around us, question, and learn to live where we are.

DSC02601The approach starts with acclimation.  Slow down!  Sit, wait and use your senses (olfactory, audition, tactition, gustation, and vision).  Once you are ready, you will start to notice more details.  If you let yourself go, naturally your curiosity will kick-in.  Inevitably, you will notice something you haven’t seen before or question a process you don’t understand.  DSC02599Good!  Record what you are noticing and your inquiry in a notebook, journal, camera, etc.  Take that home with you like a prize and get busy!  Do some internet research, check-out a guide book from the library, ask an expert, find out more about the topic.  Make it a fun mystery to solve.  Most importantly don’t get discouraged if you can’t find the answer- there are many of life’s questions that haven’t been answered and sometimes the answers haven’t been proven wrong yet.

DSC02227Try to record your thoughts and observations.  Be as detailed as you feel comfortable with- someone might see your “citizen science” as valuable.  If you are comfortable, share it with others and start conversations.

It is important that our communities have “base-line” information about how things are.  If we don’t, there is no noticing significant changes (for better or worse).


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