I am happy to say there are many very well known female naturalists (Rachel Carson and Beatrix Potter to name a few). But there are two others who have personally inspired me and what I do: Edith Holden and Gene Stratton-Porter.
Back in 2016 after returning to Wooster I set a goal for myself to find the first blooming trillium of the year, this led me to hike the same trail every day for over a month (see the Trillium Hill one year study). While in the midst of this project I came across a book in the local used bookstore "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady", I was floored, 110 years previously someone was doing and seeing similar things as I was (granted hers was a written nature notebook and mine was this blog... the media may change...) 2016 in Ohio compared to 1906 in Warwickshire were eerily similar! Along with her observations there are poems, sayings, and beautiful illustrations and paintings (as were the trend at the time).
The following year (at the same cute little bookstore) someone recommended the author Gene Stratton-Porter... now I'm pretty particular when it comes to reading material and her books are labeled very loosely as "romantic" so I was hesitant to look into it, but the emphasis on nature tones intrigued me enough. I found a copy of "A Girl of the Limberlost" and I was floored, you could feel the swamps, hear the crickets, you fell in love with the characters, and there was very little to do with romance but lots to do with logging, moth collections, conservation, and life in the Limberlost.
After that I dove into "The Keeper of the Bees", beautiful, this one was a little more romantic (early 1900s romance = more chivalrous than sappy), but goes on to elaborate on beekeeping in a way, is almost an adventure story, okay it's hard to explain but it's stunning.
Her books mainly have to do with various aspects of life in the Limberlost area of Wabash County, Indiana where she was raised.
While all that is fine and dandy (it's always good to have a good book to read), what is really cool about her is:
1. She was one of the first women to found her own silent-era movie production company.
2. With all of her profits (she was a big deal with both her books and the movie industry) she fought fearlessly to conserve what remained of the Limberlost Swamps and other wetlands in Indiana. Her homes in Indiana are now State Historic Sites (and on my to visit list).
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Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.