Who is a naturalist?

The name given to someone who studies natural history, is a naturalist. A naturalist could be anyone with an interest in nature and in life itself – a scientist, a poet, an artist or a philosopher. 

For example, a poet looking for inspiration in nature, will want to accurately depict all the sights and sounds and feels and smells. She will write about the heart-stopping thrill of a predator’s chase;  perhaps the swoop and soar of a bird in flight; the way the sunlight moves and dapples through the trees on a windy day; or the way leaves or snowflakes fall to the ground.

An artist painting an ocean scene, would study the waves upon the sea – how they rise and fall; how they ripple and foam, and spray and splash; the way the colour changes to reflect the sun and the clouds, or the swell of the storm.

Even a family on a nature walk are being naturalists – you might look up at the sky and study the weather – is it going to rain? What is that bird you can hear singing? Has that spider caught any flies in its web? How many types of leaves can you find? If it is autumn, are they changing colour yet?

These are all questions and musings that a naturalist considers and incorporates into her nature study.