Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them

I have a very old sweatshirt with these words (Ralph Waldo Emerson's) accompanied by an embroidered leaf on the front.

I was poking around today on previous blog posts to see if I'd written about this quote before.

It turned out that I had referenced it in this post, which reminded me of a magical morning seeing spider webs in the Garden. And that experience was 2 1/2 years ago.

This quote is on my mind again, as I'm percolating thoughts about a newsletter piece about using cool apps, software, and digital technology to enhance nature observation and appreciation.

I'm totally convinced that direct experience and observation of nature is what's most important and compelling; what I like about current technology is the ability to learn more easily and immediately, complete with visuals and/or audio, whether it's at my study desktop (most often), or through some other sort of digital technology.

My guess is that our ability to learn about nature and natural history will be increasingly expanded by the ability to connect to information on a iPod Touch or similar device.

Apps from the National Audubon Society make their guides on plants, birds, mammals and other organisms available, as well as applications such as Thayer's Birding software eBird, which brings Cornell Ornithology Lab's information to your desktop or laptop. I've had excellent success with Lang Elliot's CD guides to night sounds, bird calls, etc. downloaded to my iPod and played via portable speakers during programs.

How cool is it to be able to listen to various cricket and katydid songs, not to mention tree frogs and other night sounds, when you're actually out there trying to distinguish between them?

1 comment:

  1. I have a CD of frog calls -- trying to learn who is out there. Kind of fun.


Please share your thoughts. I enjoy hearing from fellow nature observers, as well as whomever else drops by.

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