What is a Naturalist?
Photo of a visit to Costa Rica by an old friend and great naturalist.
What is a naturalist? If he makes systematic observations, keeps careful records, and tries to interpret them, he is certainly a scientist, yet he differs profoundly from other scientist, even from other biologist. Many a scientist is never happier than when he can bring into his laboratory whatever phenomenon he is investigating, isolate it, and study it under controlled conditions. His triumph is to summarize his observations in a neat graph or a mathematical formula. He lives in middle-class comfort like any other professional man. To the true naturalist, the concrete experience of living things in their natural setting is at least as precious as any generalization or “law” that he can derive from his observations. To gain this experience, he is willing to endure discomforts and privations in far places.
This comes from the book A Naturalist in Costa Rica by Alexander F. Skutch (1971). I seriously don’t think Skutch was talking about the snow storms that never seem to be stopping this winter. Another 6 inches of snow today and tomorrow they are talking a high temperature of 10°F. Wind chills should be in the minus teens (- 15ish)!! I would rather be enjoying these discomforts in Costa Rica right now!
OK, video is from today and the audio might have been added to make it feel more like summer birds singing in the background! The sound of falling snow is soo boring!