(n.) a person who studies plants and animals as they live in nature
When people ask me what my job is, I say it has two parts. First, I try to inspire a love of our natural world. Second, I work to make complicated science concepts both approachable and engaging. My favorite part of the job is learning from my students- each program teaches me something new, whether it is how to teach more effectively or how to observe more closely.
Many think of memory as rote learning, a linear stuffing of the brain with facts, where understanding is irrelevant. When you teach it properly, with imagination and association, understanding becomes a part of it. ~Tony Buzan
To turn every possible moment into an adventure by exploring the tiniest details of nature.
Passion isn’t something that lives way up in the sky, in abstract dreams and hopes. It lives at ground level, in the specific details of what you’re actually doing every day. ~Marcus Buckingham
Most posts feature a closeup pic of a natural object. All images are mine unless otherwise attributed. I come from a family of functional artists; my mother is a quilter, my father was a woodworker, my uncle was a blacksmith. They taught me an appreciation for art that can be used in daily life, and I’ve finally discovered a medium that brings me joy: field photography. Pushing my (inexpensive) camera’s limits to capture the tiniest flowers or the smallest anatomical structures brings me great satisfaction. I photograph outdoors and without picking the flowers – part of the joy is focusing on capturing clear images without harming the wildlife. In graduate school, I spent many hours identifying wildflowers using pressed plant specimens and microscopes- this may have been more convenient, but it was a lot less enjoyable! My pictures aren’t perfect, but I am getting better – and having great fun in the process.
The commonality between science and art is in trying to see profoundly- to develop strategies of seeing and showing. ~Edward Tufte
Longer descriptive posts are titled by a descriptive word that is broken into individual syllables and illustrated by a specific featured image.
Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature. ~Eric Hoffer
My parents kept an old thick dictionary on a table in the family room. Its hefty weight, onion-skin paper and tiny print made discovering each word an adventure. Sometimes I’d flip it open, close my eyes, and pick a word at random. Other times, I’d hunt for the best word on a page. That dictionary taught me that learning is fun… and helped me to become the 3rd place spelling bee champion in Europe in 6th grade. I won a leather-bound world atlas from National Geographic. I lost on a natural history word: Pleiades. I ended up a becoming a naturalist, exploring and interpreting across the United States over the past 20 years.
Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral:
Each post is organized into a specific, but general, category. One of my favorite games to play with students is Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral. It helps me understand a very basic idea of what they already know about the natural world and it provides a fun way to discover how they think and process information.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo da Vinci
It’s my little game of “I Spy.” This website is a way for me to remember what I find and where I find it. Most posts simply feature photos of wildflowers in bloom or bearing fruit, which I post within a week of discovery. If I have identified them, then I include links to the sources I used. Occasionally, an animal might creep its way in, but plants have the lovely tendency to sit still and pose for the camera. Please let me know if you believe anything is incorrectly identified.
Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. ~Henry David Thoreau
I hope you see something here that makes you want to take a closer look at the nature around us!
I just love when the learning curve is steep. And I love being in nature, in the wild. ~Peter Heller