Amid the dire broadcasts about pollution, global warming, and the ever-increasing dominance of technology, I am finding reasons to feel hopeful about the natural world. People are posting photos from their backyards on Facebook and Instagram. They are expressing amazement over what our brother and sister creatures (both flora and fauna) can do. They are becoming citizen scientists. And, as ever, they are lifting their faces to the sun, noticing birds flying overhead, and gazing out over the water.
Another source of hope is my collection of books about nature that literally “runneth over”–I’ve run out of nooks and crannies into which I can stuff them and have often used this space to share some of their glorious content.
The content here on First Person Naturalist has shifted over time. Now I cover, on occasion, nature-centric books publishers have asked me to review. I also write about things that move me, like exploitative mica mining in other nations or how I feel nature almanacs are too often overlooked. Weekly, I write the Loving the World: Visits with Nature and Deeper Connection newsletter, free to subscribers. I often re-post those epistles on my dedicated Facebook page of the same name, here.
I am a writer and an amateur naturalist, soon to graduate with my Connecticut Master Naturalist certification from Goodwin State Forest and Conservation Center. I am proud to have been awarded the 2015 Edwin Way Teale Artist-in-Residence opportunity–I got to live on what I consider sacred ground and write in the same place that Teale did. I had another residency at Acadia National Park in June 2017–a gift that is still fresh in my mind, still inspiring writing. Yet another residency in Tennessee more recently–the Orchard Keeper’s residency, gave me a new persepctive on nature farther south. I am proud of my The Book of Noticing: Collections and Connections on the Trail, with Homebound Publications, which launched in May 2017! Some awards for that one.
More recently (January 2023), I published The Morning Light, the Lily White: Daily Dips into Nature and Spirit with Shanti Arts. I love to conduct talks, retreats, classes, and workshops as well as online classes centered on nature writing and nature appreciation and contemplation. This link brings you to a list of upcoming events.
Please take a moment to share with me here (or as a comment on a specific blog) your own first-person naturalist experiences and thoughts. I love hear from other nature lovers, explorers, and writers.
Thank you for visiting me here!
16 thoughts on “About”
The dove couple has been furiously building their nest in the barn rafters over my gelding’s stall. The nest seems way to fragile to raise a family in, but it is colorful with its purple chive flowers, a small piece of blue twine that had held hay bales together and pieces of blond hay . I look at it through binoculars from the far side of the stall trying not to startle the mother as my birder friend told me doves will abandon their nest if they feel threatened. My gelding stands in his stall seemingly oblivious to the frenzy happening above–or to the tiny barn sparrow sleeping on his butt. My heart is full.
I worship nature! Unlike most of western civilization, I feel no separation from Mother Earth and believe She is the key to a sustainable human future. Katherine Hauswirth is an exquisite co-author of our Get Satisfied book at Postconsumers.com, where moving beyond society’s addictive consumerism leads to creativity and fulfillment. I love all of Katherine’s work!
High compliment, Carol. Much appreciated. I am eternally grateful for Get Satisfied and Postconsumers, and the efforts and shared longing for simplicity that both represent. 🙂
My heart is full just reading about it! Thanks Joan! Love the nest décor, especially 🙂
Just read your recent article on naturewriting.com, and enjoyed it very much. And happily it led to your blog. I chuckled at your comments about your book collection, as I am in the same boat. I am at least a weekly reader of Ron’s website, and really enjoy the wide scope of the genre it affords. As a fellow amateur naturalist, avid reader, and sometimes writer, I am glad you chose to share your gift. Your writing is both descriptive and evocative.
Wayne, thanks so much for taking the time to read my piece, Close to the Edge (http://naturewriting.com/close-to-the-edge/) at Ron’s naturewriting.com, and for the encouragement! I am impressed with his site and have made it a goal to become a regular reader! I agree with you about the wide scope; I’ve found that some see “nature writing” as a pretty narrow category, but I disagree! Perhaps I’ll read something of yours someday soon.
Years ago I took a course in a graduate English program that was co-taught by an English professor and a biology professor. It was one of the best courses I have ever taken. I did my best writing in that class and published an essay, The Dragonfly and the Frog: A Close Observation. The essay was written at a pond on Sleeping Giant Mountain in Hamden after a half-day observation. The class was an adventure and an enlightenment. We walked a state park picking up vegetation after which we prepared and ate an amazindlg salad. I, too, am leary a out picking vegetation in “the wild” for eating for the same reason you expressed, especially after reading Into the Wild!
Thank you for sharing your observations on nature, Kathy. They are insightful, enlightening and bring back wonderful memories. I should spend more time communicating with nature.
Thanks so much, Joan. I have finally discovered nature writing as my niche. Of course, just when I gain some confidence, I get a new issue of Orion magazine and I’m totally blown away by someone like Scott Russell Sanders! So it’s really nice to hear that you are Relating to my words. Much appreciated!
PS: Id love to read that piece, Joan!
I was perusing the Internet and found your blog, and I have to say that this About page is incredibly inspirational. I’m also a nature writer, among other writing interests – http://bellaonline.com/site/California if you’re interested; it’s a travel column but you can search it to find my writings on flora, fauna, and natural areas within the state. I’m looking forward to returning here often and seeing what you’ve done!
Hi Korie Beth–nice to meet you and thanks for the compliment. I hadn’t run across your site before and look forward to spending some time on it. At a glance (writing from work), it looks quite interesting! You might have seen I just had a book come out, and I am loving this journey. If you are interested, please see the Book of Noticing tab here on the blog. You have been a happy note in my day!
Hi Kathy – Per your 7/7/17 article in the Shoreline Times… WOW!! I cannot wait to purchase your book. I am the most annoying person to walk/hike with as my head is everywhere but in front of me and I walk very S-L-O-W-L-Y while taking everything in. Also similar to you, I am fascinated by the various meanings of words and word origins. I am so sorry you lost your Molly but I’m sure she is still walking and observing along with you in your travels.
Sue, thanks so much! I haven’t seen the article yet but enjoyed the interview with Ann. Lovely thought about Molly–yes I think her spirit lives on!
Not many years ago, I attended one of your lectures. Maybe at East Lyme Public Library.
Following your presentation, I purchased the book and you graciously signed it. It then was tucked away on a book self until a month ago. While sorting books to be culled out, I came across yours. It went into the “I need to check this out before I send it off to a new home” pile. About 8 weeks ago I began reading it as part of my morning prayer time.
WOW! In 2020 at the beginning f the Covid shutdown, my dear friend and I decide to do a walk a week. So we began at one of the Lyme preserves. After a couple of weeks another friend joined us and then one more. We have not missed a week since. We have walked most of Lyme, Old Lyme, some Salem and East Lyme, The Arboretum and CT State Parks etc. We spend much of our walks
Noticing. We have taken skillions of pictures and explored mosses, wondered about ferns, watched Osprey, a Great Horned Owl in nest with chick, imagined many creatures out of fallen tree trunks and growths on trees and on and on. One of my friends is a pretty good birder, I am a wanabee and the other 2 have immersed themselves in learning more.
When I finally opened your book and I heard your stories as you wandered around Deep River and spent your time at Trail Wood I realized why I was compelled to buy it in the first place. WOW My eyes and heart were opened more and your words described what my friends and I were feeling. We have shared the joy and freedom of being in our woods and opening all our senses to the gifts of nature right in our neighborhoods.
I thank you for your passion and your compassion and your vocation in sharing that gift of nature. It is my plan to gift The Book Of Noticing to my 3 walking pals and to tell another group of walkers I have recently joined about your work.
Thank you for noticing your gift and the beautiful world right in your path and for your dedication to sharing it with us.
PS Attempted to send via your email at contently and would not go.
Joan, this is my second attempt to reply to this comment, so sorry for any repeats! A huge thanks for this; it made my day!
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