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: Landscape

Words 

The expanse of land around us is the landscape. Landscape ecologists study the rules by which patches of different sorts of land function and interface with each other. Here we’ll get introduced to a few examples of the biomes, or general kinds of biological communities, that make up our landscapes.

 

Forests:

Video: “Experience the Magic of Redwood National Park (NatGeo Short Film Showcase)” (3:48) 

Reading: “Climbing the Tallest Trees (Beland)

 

Grasslands:

Video: “Discover America’s Heartland the Great Plains (Michael Forsberg)” (4:45)

Deserts:

Video: “Deserts 101 (NatGeo) (3:52)

Tundra:

Video: “Unique Wildlife of The Scottish Highlands (NatGeo Short Film Showcase)” (4:31)

Works

In your outdoor experience today, pay particular attention to the sorts of biological communities around you. Notice the edges between different ecosystems, such as forest/agriculture, grassland/stream, or urban/park.

Notice how organisms move between them or else prefer to stay in one place. Be sure to diversify the landscapes over which you roam as you perform your observations during this course.

 

~Blend into nature ~ Be silent ~ Be aware and alert~

 

THE HUMBLEBEE

 

Burly dozing humblebee! 

Where thou art is clime for me. 

Let them sail for Porto Rique,

Far-off heats through seas to seek, 

I will follow thee alone,

Thou animated torrid zone! 

Zig-zag steerer, desert-cheerer, 

Let me chase thy waving lines, 

Keep me nearer, me thy hearer, 

Singing over shrubs and vines.

 

Insect lover of the sun, 

Joy of thy dominion! 

Sailor of the atmosphere,

Swimmer through the waves of air, 

Voyager of light and noon, 

Epicurean of June,

Wait I prithee, till I come 

Within ear-shot of thy hum,– 

All without is martyrdom.

 

When the south wind, in May days, 

With a net of shining haze,

Silvers the horizon wall,

And, with softness touching all, 

Tints the human countenance 

With a color of romance,

And, infusing subtle heats, 

Turns the sod to violets, 

Thou in sunny solitudes, 

Rover of the underwoods,

The green silence dost displace, 

With thy mellow breezy bass.

Hot midsummer’s petted crone, 

Sweet to me thy drowsy tune, 

Telling of countless sunny hours,

Long days, and solid banks of flowers, 

Of gulfs of sweetness without bound 

In Indian wildernesses found,

Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure, 

Firmest cheer and bird-like pleasure.

 

Aught unsavory or unclean, 

Hath my insect never seen, 

But violets and bilberry bells, 

Maple sap and daffodels,

Grass with green flag half-mast high, 

Succory to match the sky, 

Columbine with horn of honey, 

Scented fern, and agrimony,

Clover, catch fly, adders-tongue, 

And brier-roses dwelt among; 

All beside was unknown waste, 

All was picture as he passed.

 

Wiser far than human seer, 

Yellow-breeched philosopher! 

Seeing only what is fair, 

Sipping only what is sweet, 

Thou dost mock at fate and care,

Leave the chaff and take the wheat, 

When the fierce north-western blast 

Cools sea and land so far and fast, 

Thou already slumberest deep,– 

Woe and want thou canst out-sleep,– 

Want and woe which torture us,

Thy sleep makes ridiculous.

 

-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)