Natural History

Week 2: The Song of Nature, theme 1: ORGANISMS
Week 3: The Song of Nature, theme 1: ORGANISMS
Week 4: The Song of Nature, theme 1: ORGANISMS
Week 6: The Song of Nature, theme 2: STORIES
Week 7: The Song of Nature, theme 2: STORIES
Week 8: The Song of Nature, theme 2: STORIES
Week 9: Interlude - To Experience Nature
Week 10: The Song of Nature, theme 3: ENVIRONMENT
Week 11: The Song of Nature, theme 3: ENVIRONMENTS
Week 12: The Song of Nature, theme 3: ENVIRONMENTS
Appendix #1 - Natural History Books
Appendix #2 - Index of Nature Poems
Appendix #3 - Selected Outlines of Living Things

Day 3: Ecology

Words

Ecology is the interaction between organisms and their environments, including all other organisms and the nonliving features of the environment. To borrow imagery from the great biologist G. Evelyn Hutchinson, ecology is the theater of life, just as evolution is the play.

 

Today we’ll read a minicourse on ecology, and then watch videos that focus on two kinds, or levels, of ecology: communities and ecosystems.

 

Reading: “Introducing the Environment – Ecology and Ecosystems (OpenU)” 

Video: “Community Ecology – Feel the Love (Crash Course Ecology)” (11:29) 

Video: “Ecosystem Ecology – Links in the Chain (Crash Course Ecology)” (10:10)

Works

When you go outside today, think not only about particular organisms, but about their interactions. Look for evidence of them. Do you see any evidence of mutualisms—of organisms depending on each other? How about predation, or parasitism, or herbivory? Observe the many connections between every organism you see and all the others around it, including the nonliving environment.

~Emphasize the morning; come out before dawn for a few sessions~

 

AMENDS TO NATURE

 

I have loved colours, and not flowers; 

Their motion, not the swallows wings; 

And wasted more than half my hours 

Without the comradeship of things.

 

How is it, now, that I can see, 

With love and wonder and delight, 

The children of the hedge and tree, 

The little lords of day and night?

 

How is it that I see the roads, 

No longer with usurping eyes,

A twilight meeting-place for toads, 

A mid-day mart for butterflies?

 

I feel, in every midge that hums, 

Life, fugitive and infinite,

And suddenly the world becomes 

A part of me and I of it.

 

-Arthur Symons (1865-1945)