What is a Naturalist?

What is a Naturalist?

“We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.”

This quote by the esteemed 19th century British educator, Charlotte Mason, gives glimpse of what a naturalist is.  To be a naturalist is to care about plant and animal life, to marvel in the natural world, to be what we were all meant to be.

But how do we attain such a lofty-seeming goal when the noise of technology, the glorification of busy, and the endless to-do list threaten to drown out the quiet marvels of plant and animal life?

We need a plan. Here is mine:

Step 1.  Go outside.  Stay as long as possible.

Step 2. Repeat step one as often as possible.

Actually, it might not be quite so simple.  After all, my children and I are now 5 for 5 days of spending at least an hour a day out in nature – no matter the weather! And while each day has been a delight, we need a little more guidance if we are to become naturalists in our degree.

All meant to be naturalists

Thankfully, I have found a simple, doable plan.  Check out How to Grow a Naturalist in 5 Easy Steps by The Heart of Michelle.  My children and I are succeeding at Step 1, and I’ve made a written list for the fridge of the next 4 steps to keep me focused.

Please share how you are – or are becoming – a naturalist!  Let’s learn from each other!

If you’d like to read more about Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on the importance of time in nature, her writings are available online.  This particular quote comes from Volume 1 of Home Education, Part 2, Out-of-door Life for the Children, page 61.

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