Day 2: Druid
Our second style of experiencing nature is less about knowledge and utility and more about a feeling of rejuvenation or a sense of relationship. We are in some important ways a part of nature even though in other ways we are removed from it. We are still biological organisms, have natural needs and challenges just like other organisms, and interact with our natural environments in a variety of ways. We often celebrate a connection to nature when we go to the beach, take walks in the woods just for pleasure, or rest atop a mountain and enjoy the view. Seeing animals in their natural habitats is likewise inspiring for many people and is a major goal of millions of visitors to national parks. Many naturalists intentionally develop these sorts of feelings of connection and inspiration.
The University of Derby in the U.K. has developed materials to encourage the experience of nature, such as this video:
Video: “5 Pathways To Nature Connection” (2:28)
In the next video, David Attenborough talks about the relationship between mental health and the great outdoors:
Video: “Mental Health and Nature (David Attenborough)” (2:46)
The Harvard evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson argued for a sense of “Biophilia” such that everyone has an innate need to connect with nature and other living things. This is a controversial hypothesis, but a good one for naturalists to be aware of:
Reading: “Biophilia Hypothesis – Encyclopedia Britannica (Rogers 2019)”
Go out and experience nature viscerally—enjoy yourself. Perhaps lie on the grass or forest floor, feel the sun on your face, and open your senses to the world around you. What is it about your location today that inspires or rejuvenates you?