Speaking of Nature: Telling stories about nature


When I look again upon my childhood I’ve many fantastic recollections. Camping journeys that I took with my household, adventures had whereas mountain climbing up the mountain throughout the street from my home, canoe journeys and ice hockey within the yard. It was really an exquisite life that I had as a baby.

We didn’t have lots of cash, however my dad and mom did a spectacular job of shielding their youngsters from that reality. We accepted no matter we had as regular and I can not bear in mind a time once I was notably conscious of the standing of different households, nor did I notably care. I used to be swimming in that nice pool of obliviousness that permits youngsters to be pleased it doesn’t matter what else could also be happening.

Visits to my grandmother’s home had been notably fantastic. My grandmother was an worker of the Hudson Valley Girl Scout Council and she or he was in cost of the Nature Center at a Girl Scout camp situated simply outdoors of Albany. A visit to Camp Is-Sho-Da was a magical expertise as a result of Granny had the keys and we might go contained in the Nature Center and see all of the fantastic objects in her assortment of pure curiosities. Paper wasp nests hung from the rafters, plaster casts of raccoon tracks had been set out in a line to indicate the trail a raccoon took and all types of pressed flowers and ferns had been sealed between sheets of wax paper to make “stained glass” ornaments.

And of course, there have been the stories. Granny all the time had a narrative about one thing and these stories had been all designed to have interaction the hearts and imaginations of younger youngsters. They actually labored their magic on me and my creativeness was full of all types of fantastic concepts about animals. But Granny’s stories weren’t the one ones in my head.

In the Nineteen Seventies the Wonderful World of Disney was nonetheless a staple of Sunday night time tv. Winnie-the-Pooh stories had been delivered to life by Disney’s animators and the stories had been so in style that recordings of the film soundtracks had been made out there on data (does anybody bear in mind the little file participant case they might have had as a baby?). My brother, sister and I might hear to those data for hours and picture what Pooh, Piglet, Owl, Eeyore and Tigger had been as much as. I’m smiling simply considering about it.

And, of course, stories about animals weren’t restricted to the creativeness of the creator A. A. Milne. Beatrix Potter gave us “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” Kenneth Grahame gave us “The Wind in the Willows,” Richard Adams gave us “Watership Down” and the superb Thornton Burgess gave us a complete assortment of stories about the various animals that lived within the space often known as Laughing Brook. All of these stories lived in my creativeness and I fell in love with the animals featured in them. I believe that could be one motive I wished to review wildlife in school.

Somehow the expertise of studying the science of nature was an easy transition for me. The 18-year-old model of me was capable of compartmentalize his mind so he might preserve the childhood stories intact whereas additionally studying how issues actually labored. The two units of concepts had been separate and by no means in battle and I genuinely imagine that the childhood recollections supplied fertile floor during which the science might develop.

In forestry courses I realized that leaves change shade within the fall as a result of the fading depth of the daylight indicators the bushes to start out eradicating chloroplasts from their leaves. This removes the inexperienced pigment chlorophyll and exposes different pigments referred to as carotenoids, which occur to be pink, orange and yellow in shade. Eventually, when there isn’t a longer sufficient physiological profit to protecting their leaves, the bushes kind abscission layers that seal off the xylem and phloem tubes and the leaves fall to the bottom. And I didn’t even should look any of that up!

It is scientific, it is smart and I’m glad that I do know it, however the baby in me additionally delights in telling different types of stories, like this one: Autumn is right here and she or he is singing a lullaby to assist the world drift off to sleep earlier than her sister Winter arrives. Autumn has lengthy auburn hair and she or he wears a robe of glittering gold with a protracted prepare made of colourful leaves. Wherever Autumn walks the leaves of the forest bushes start to show colours. Autumn speaks to the bushes and together with her encouragement the bushes placed on the brightest present that they will.

Then, as soon as everybody is prepared, Autumn will launch her fairies into the forest and they’re going to convey the leaves all the way down to the bottom. The fairies climb onto every leaf the way in which Harry Potter may climb onto a broomstick after which they faucet the stem of the leaves with their wands to make them come free. Once this occurs, the fairies trip the leaves like little gliders all the way down to the bottom to kind a colourful quilt that may preserve the wildflowers heat till Spring arrives. All the whereas, Autumn is watching, singing her lullaby and gently laughing and inspiring the fairies to maintain at it.

So, the subsequent time you see a leaf fall from a tree I ponder if you happen to may look a little bit extra rigorously to see if you happen to can really see a fairy driving on the leaf’s stem. I wager you may, although it’s only a foolish little story. Perhaps you may even draw a little bit image of this, or encourage a baby to attract an image. All of that is good as a result of it retains nature alive in our hearts and minds.

Bill Danielson has been knowledgeable author and nature photographer for twenty-four years. He has labored for the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy and the Massachusetts State Parks and he at the moment teaches highschool biology and physics. For extra in formation go to his web site at, or head over to Speaking of Nature on Facebook.