The last anyone heard of Robert Kennicott was his cheerful hum as he strolled into the Alaskan wilderness early on the morning of May 13, 1866.
Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing. "He is the only writer ever to win the National Book Award for nonfiction and fiction, but it’s not just the writing: Born into the East Coast establishment, Matthiessen ran from it, and in the running became a novelist, a C.I.A. agent, a founder of The Paris Review, author of more than 30 books, a naturalist, an activist and a master in one of the most respected lineages in Zen. As early as 1978, he was already being referred to, in a review in The New York Times, as a 'throwback,' because he has always seemed to be of a different, earlier era, with universal, spiritual and essentially timeless concerns." Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86.
“One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.”
The great naturalist Aldo Leopold took detailed notes in his journals every morning before sunrise, logging the birds he heard calling on his farm in rural Wisconsin. Now, using journals from the Aldo Leopold archives, and bird calls from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, researchers at UW-Madison have replicated what Aldo Leopold would have heard one morning on his farm in the 1940s autoplays bird calls.
Rosemary Mosco is a field naturalist who draws bird & nature comics: "bird and moon" (previously), "ghosts of the northeast woods", "bird sound mnemonics", "birds are gross", "evolution sucks". Her bi-weekly comic strip Wild Toronto ("It cleverly observed and taught us about the animals and plants that live in our city") ran on Torontoist for some months in 2008; she has an illustrated collection of 55-word stories as well (previously mentioned). Her website, flickr, & tumblr.
13-Year-Old Makes Solar Power Breakthrough by Harnessing the Fibonacci Sequence After studying how trees branch in a very specific way, Aidan Dwyer created a solar cell tree that produces 20-50% more power than a uniform array of photovoltaic panels. [more inside]
Discover the charming children's literature of Thornton W. Burgess, author and naturalist, whose books embodied the Naturalist / Conservationist movement of the first half of the 20th century. His works are available through Project Gutenberg, The Literature Network (excellent biography on main page, navigate to books on the left sidebar (and within books also on the left sidebar)), and even several free audio book downloads through LibriVox. [more inside]
John D. Olmsted, a naturalist who for over 40 years led efforts to preserve Northern California nature areas, open spaces and hiking trails, recently passed away at the age of 73. A distant relative of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, John D. Olmsted was inspired by John Muir to preserve wilderness, and his son recently completed a film about his life.
Some observations of a wanderer "was started primarily to organize and share the pictures [Matt Goff] had taken of Sitka over the years." When not blogging, Dr. Goff teaches mathematics at Sheldon Jackson College.
Country Life: Wildlife Reports From Around The World. Here's a generous helping of trip reports from a group of dedicated naturalists who manage to be thorough and entertaining at the same time. It's part of a travel agency's web site, but not so as you'd notice it. Reading through them, one feels quietly (perhaps dangerously?) optimistic at the astonishing variety of all things bright and beautiful in this grossly over-exploited world of ours. (Well, there may be too many birds in the fauna/flora mix, if you're not a certified ornithologist. Oh - and not enough detail on the local gastronomical delights!)