The Backyard Naturalist
You don’t need to travel far to observe nature (although it can be fun). In your own back yard there’s an entire community waiting to be discovered, seriously, whether you live in the country, in town, in the ‘burbs, or even if your backyard is only a balcony. Through mindful observation, you’ll be able to see an entire new world in your own back yard!
Throughout this month I’ll be posting a series of “How to Observe _____” with a variety of exercises to get those observation muscles working!
I was inspired after making myself go for a walk around my neighborhood, I have been spending so much time on the computer editing various photo projects that a lack of connection with the great outdoors had started to set in. So I bundled up and headed out the door. At first I noticed the sharp chill air, followed by the stream of traffic (I live in town on a rather busy street), soon though, those faded into the background and I began noticing the great variety of leaves on the sidewalk and started to count and identify as many different ones as I could - red & white oak, Japanese maple, sweet gum… I turned down a side street and watched the squirrels run, as they climbed the old oak I noticed their nest, just outside the nest there was an old gray squirrel peeking out watching me. We watched each other for a few beats until another squirrel arrived with leaves and twigs to add to the nest, then they got to work arranging. Further along I noticed a forsythia bush had started to bloom during last week’s warm spell. As I turned the corner I hear a gravely rough call from a tree, I look up and a crow is hopping from branch to branch creeping closer and closer to a squirrel nest. If you’ve never heard the range of sounds crows make I highly recommended scoping them out and watching, I’ve observed some that I could swear were talking! The crow fluttered off and I continued walking noticing a brilliant purple rhododendron that also though spring had arrived, the flowers caught mid open. Then I was home again, with a renewed sense of wonder.
We’ll be learning how to observe…
Trees, lawns, birds & animals, light patterns, the sky, and a variety of other subjects all from the comfort of your backyard!
For reference, this is my backyard where I'll be making observations.
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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.