Amateur Naturalist – I’ve been obsessing lately on my interest in nature, deciding that I qualify for the title of “Amateur Naturalist”. I think that my current interest came from the fact that my hummingbird and butterfly garden that I developed and maintain at one of the branch libraries has just been certified a monarch way station. Actually getting and posting the sign in the garden repiqued my interest for nature in general.
I’ve always been Nature Girl. I grew up in a rural area with few houses and a generous supply of coniferous and deciduous woods, fields, swamps, lakes, creeks and ponds and all the critters that live in those environments.
Luckily, Mom always encouraged exploration. She never yelled at my brothers for bringing home snakes, never killed a spider, always had a vase of wildflowers on the kitchen counter and instead of swatting at a moth flitting around the porch light, she would get one of our reference books and we would look it up.
Dad’s interest in nature only involved birdwatching. For as long as I can remember we always had birdfeeders in the winter and birdbaths set up in the summer. Dad’s chair at the kitchen table had the best view of the patio where he could watch the birds.
The books and stories that opened the doors to the natural world made a big enough difference in my life that I still remember them today.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Two Little Savages by Ernest Thompson Seton
My Side of the Mountain by Jean George
The poetry and art of Gwen Frostic
Indian Crafts and Lore and Camp Crafts by W. Ben Hunt
The Golden Book of Nature Crafts by J. Saunders
Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter
I realized last weekend that Gene Stratton Porter’s house and the Limberlost swamp she wrote about had to be only about two hours away in Indiana. I’ve decided that I will take my niece Olivia (4th grade) and Mom (81 yrs old)and go down for the day to visit the area on my day off next week. I am actually excited about this trip.
In the meantime, Olivia looks at my books and we take nature hikes. This Sunday we will hike thru the woods where we used to play when we were young. Maybe Olivia’s mom will want to come with us.