Nature for the Next Generation



I was interviewed by a writer for a Missouri magazine recently who was gathering information for an article which, based on the questions he asked, will offer some useful tips to their DIY landscape maintenance readership and also to those who want to learn a little more about landscape design. As both the science of landscape maintenance and the art of landscape design are two of the few gears always spinning in my mind, the interview process was an enjoyable one.

Somewhere in the midst of the conversation, though, I began thinking about the influences in my life that had led me to be in such a position. Then, nearly as quickly as the question dawned on me, the answer came too: The Amateur Naturalist.

Written by Gerald and Lee Durrell, The Amateur Naturalist is a book that I received as a gift when I was around 12 years old. The book covers a range of topics from collecting plant seeds to sea bird identification; from making plaster casts of animal footprints to skeletal studies and microscopy. It's full of pictures and drawings and science and wonder. Biology, botany, entomology, pathology, taxidermy. It lures the reader into greater observation of all that's around us and, thereby, gives us a better appreciation of the work and fruit of studying, itself. Above all, I think, it's a celebration of life. It helps us remember that there is so much to be seen and known beyond schedules, and school, and electronic entertainment.


So what? If you are alive, you have some sort of near or distant relationship with some person under 20 years old - children, grandchildren, neighbor. Statistically speaking, it's likely that this person is fully embroiled in schedules and school in the time that they're not fully embroiled in video games or Netflix. If this is so, it may be that (perhaps without knowing it) they'd appreciate some small help in seeing that there is much more to life than the small sliver they're afforded as they're shuffled from class to class, schedule to schedule, and screen to screen. The Amateur Naturalist may be that help.

Life, it could be said, is an interview. If we're listening, it's always asking us questions. "Why does this happen" or "what does this mean?". Who, what, when, where, and how. Answers are always required of us and our successes in life are often predicated on our responses.

Life, it could be said, is an interview. If we're listening, it's always asking us questions.

Beyond just providing responses to questions and offering landscape solutions, though, part of our passion at Fresh Start Outdoors involves helping those we meet to find pleasure and enjoyment in the great outdoors. Landscaping is certainly a means to that end but, on occasion, so is pointing to the great work of others who have contributed to our own enjoyment and successes. We believe The Amateur Naturalist is one such work and commend it to you and the youth you know as a noteworthy guide to the nature around us and as an enjoyable respite from the schedules and busyness of life.


*This is not an affiliate post; we are not making any money from the links. It's just a really good book.

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