We keep talking about this "natural history" thing. What, pray tell, is natural history? For brevity's sake, here's the first line of the Wikipedia definition:
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study...
We would add to that that the grass roots of natural history, nature study as practiced by scientists and amateurs alike when they get outside and observe their world, is an endangered discipline. Too many scientists sit in the lab looking at DNA and too many amateurs think an academic appreciation of nature is best left to said scientists. We beg to differ. As a friend of ours said recently, "botanists don't look at plants anymore." That's a shame.
In a now famous speech to the IUCN in 1968, Senegalese environmentalist Baba Dioum supposedly said:
"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught."
Those with the power to conserve must understand what we must protect. Molecules are hard to understand and not very lovable. But the dance of natural ecosystems on the stage of water, earth, and air need not be reduced to the laboratory to be understood. It must be seen, heard, smelled, and touched. This is what we do. This is what we want to share.