Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Natural history = basis of interest

Last year, I wrote a couple of posts about the importance of natural history in science:

I argued that natural history forms the basis of the scientific method, but I also acknowledged that the power of the scientific method came from the interaction between data and hypotheses, yadayada. 

However, one important thing that I forgot to add in that discussion is that natural history does not only form the basis of the scientific method, but also the basis of our interest in science. A recent blog post by Richard Connif, Learning to feel at home, drives provides some nice quotes by other ecologists. These quotes really express the personal connection these scientists have with their subject area, and goes beyond the view of scientists as cold, subjective, recording machines.

As all my students will tell you, I am the worst natural historian there is, given my self-identity as a computer ecologist. But I will be teaching a field course again this summer in Algonquin, and an important objective of the course is to instill in students the importance of natural history in ecology/science. So my personal aim this time is to lead by example, and work on my own natural history project this summer. I will use Drawing Nature as my guideline, because believe me, I need all the guidance I can get.

1 comment:

  1. "Natural history is the process of falling in love with the world." ~Tom Fleischner

    That's beautiful, thanks for the link!