My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

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!

13 responses

  1. Hey Tom, lets go. My passport is ready whenever you are! I am so ready to be hunting natural wonders with the camera instead of sliding my way into work…

    5 March 2007 at 7:20 pm

  2. I really need to get myself a passport one of these days! I just want the whiteouts to stop and maybe start melting! BTW: Anyone who reads this – go visit Jeremy’s Blog!! He posted his first post!

    5 March 2007 at 8:03 pm

  3. Mon@rch, I know a man who is a true naturalist. He taught my daughter AP Environmental Science in high school and hosted numerous trips to Costa Rica, Florida Keys, Belize, and numerous daily jaunts on the Chesapeake Bay. A wonderful man.

    Your video is great and I can hear springtime birds in the background! Hang in there…

    5 March 2007 at 9:39 pm

  4. Hmmm, video of it snowing, now *that* looks familiar! Except I just let the wind howling speak for itself!
    Mmmm, Costa Rica looks so nice right about now. I know I can’t wait to get into the constant sunshine for a couple of weeks!
    Hope you and the kitties are staying warm (and out of the toilet)!

    5 March 2007 at 9:50 pm

  5. I love how irrepressible the birds are.

    5 March 2007 at 10:33 pm

  6. @ Mary – Sounds like a great person! I ended up adding those birds to the background! Thanks!
    @ Pam – LOL Great minds think alike! Tell me about it! Thanks for getting that on my mind!! Speaking of which, where is Phoebe??
    @ Barb – I know!

    5 March 2007 at 10:43 pm

  7. It’s freezing here at the moment and the wind is howling. My daughter-in-law is leaving for Costa Rica at the end of the month. She does a lot of traveling with friends. I’m thinking of hiding in her luggage…

    Loved the video..

    6 March 2007 at 10:29 am

  8. Just found your site from Fairweather Zealot, the shot of Costa Rican mountianside is breathtaking. I actually love the sound of snow falling, it’s boring, but it’s a white noise soothing kind of boring to me. great site you’ve got here.

    6 March 2007 at 12:31 pm

  9. And I thought a naturalist was someone who likes to walk around in the nude.
    : )

    6 March 2007 at 11:10 pm

  10. Susan might have hit on something-
    the nudist-naturalist!!
    (tough in mosquito season!)

    7 March 2007 at 10:56 am

  11. J. Alan Hendricks ladies….see what you have done Mon@rch…shame..shame.

    When I hear of Naturalist, I think of someone being an active participant in Nature…the old scientist in his study, with his oil lamp burning…studying his newest specimen

    7 March 2007 at 3:09 pm

  12. @Laura – I sure hope she has fun and take a ton of pictures!
    @ furious – Thanks for such kind words and thanks for visiting! In a little slump for things to blog but they are talking about warmer temps and daylights should get me out more! Also, my good friend Art took this shot! I have never been there but hope to here one of these days!
    @ Susan – ROFL – LOL – I guess that’s what they do in other areas!! Ok, above is more my description of Naturalist!
    @ Lynne – you are so adding to the fuel!! LOL – glad we don’t have as many mosquito’s flying around here!
    @ Hendricks – these girls are always keeping me on my feet! I really need to be more careful what I put here on my blog!! But, then again, they are the exact reason why I love blogging!!

    7 March 2007 at 7:14 pm

  13. FYI: I had to pull my last comment out of my spam filter! Guess there are some key words my blog doesn’t like! LOL

    7 March 2007 at 7:33 pm

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