Wednesday, 15 October 2014

My Love of Nature

Recently, Maureen of Josephina Ballerina (where she blogs about life and particularly about her beautiful tortoiseshell cat Josephina) asked me to blog about where my love of nature comes from.

I grew up in suburban Manchester, in a house with a relatively small garden with a wild patch of shrubs and trees at the bottom. This was a great natural den, and I spent a lot of time, particularly in the summer, playing in the shade of the sycamore tree.

I collected nature books, specially books about birds (but I overheard my Dad saying on one occasion "doesn't she think she has enough books about birds?"). I also loved reading a big old book by Enid Blyton, that I remember belonging to my grandparents. I can't remember the name, but it was a fictionalised account of one family's adventures in the outdoors guided by their Uncle Quentin who seemed to know everything there was to know about nature. I don't really like to admit to Enid Blyton being a formative influence but....

A lot of my early interest in nature came from books rather than being outside. We had regular family excursions out, though these were usually to local parks or the local woods. It was relatively rare that our day trips went further than that, though our holidays were always to rural places. All our trips were heavily supervised, I wasn't allowed to run around much or climb trees and I certainly wasn't allowed to go out into the countryside alone or even with friends, though this story (published on Pygmy Giant) is true.

I studied Biology right through high school and took my Biology A level exam then went to University to study Botany. I've maintained my interest in nature ever since, though it's only recently that I've started leading groups on birdwatching walks and nature studies.

There are many reasons I love nature, firstly the sheer beauty, secondly the everchanging seasons and thirdly the fact that there is always something new to learn, whether in identifying a new species of insect or in observing a new behaviour from a favourite bird.

As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


TexWisGirl said...

nice that your interest started young. mine did, too.

Caroline Gill said...

I so enjoyed this, Juliet! And although I was 'down south', I echo a number of your early experiences. Though my early loves were furry animals and I didn't move on to birds until much later. Thank you, too, for linking to the true story ... I recall your dislike for heights!

eileeninmd said...

Nice story, thanks for sharing.. I started enjoying nature during my young days too.

sage said...

I always loved the outdoors but my interested in identifying birds, trees, etc has increased with age.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Hi Juliet,
Thank you for this post. I truly enjoy learning about my blogging pals and what they are interested in, and why.

As kids we played in the woods all summer long. It was a different world back then.

I love to watch birds, too. I am self taught with regard to their calls. When I go online to learn more about a certain bird's calls, the audio examples never sound much like what I'm hearing! Can you speak to how you learned so much about birds and their calls? Only if you want to, of course. And perhaps about how you came to go to Africa? (You ARE brave!)

Speaking of Africa, I just finished reading the late Laurence Anthony's book The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild. I certainly enjoyed it and highly recommend it if you haven't read it already.

RG said...

Thanks for the story! I also find that spending "nature time" keeps me better grounded in reality - and the temptations of illusion are so many and so great!

Anonymous said...

great post Juliet - I can say Gerald Durrell's books (eg., My family and other animals) had an impact on my love of animals - among other books (can't say Enid Blyton had any influence except in my love of big trees that lead to wonderful lands in the sky ;) )