Commitment like this usually comes from the confluence of several things and this week several things happened to inspire me to turn long held thoughts into productive action. Firstly, I am trying to encourage my daughter who is interested in ecology to appreciate the natural ecosystems we have right in front of us. I was once a practising geologist and I know the value of field work in inspiring deeper engagement and imagination to understand what the natural world provides. I figured that by keeping a notebook and making it public my daughter might share her scientific knowledge of how to study natural ecosystems with me and perhaps contribute a post of her own from time to time. Well thats my hope.
Secondly, I discovered a wonderful citizens science project led by Cornell University, which aims to encourage ordinary people like me to literally map my back yard. Their mapping tool which I will share in a future post inspired me to begin creating a habitat map of my own back yard and to invest time and enargy in understanding it. I talked about this tool with my daughter on a walk we made and she seemed interested in it and the idea we might collaborate in studying our garden.
Thirdly, I started reading a book called 'The private Life of an English Field MEADOWLAND by John Lewis-Stempel. Its a beautifully written book and I imagined the pleasure John gained from trying to read the everyday life of his field and then share his understandings through his writings. I thought I might try something similar in my blog.
Fourthly, and to relate this project to my educational work, I have become deeply interested in the idea of learning ecologies and the idea of ecology and ecosystems seems to me to hold huge potential for understanding how and why we learn and practice. I sense that devoting time to study myself in my environment with all the life and drama it holds can only benefit my educational idea and theory making.
So these are the most important reaons for embarking on this project, now all I have to do is do it!
In Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field, John Lewis-Stempel charts a year in the life of a field on his farm on the Herefordshire border. If you're thinking that sounds like it could be a claustrophobic or dull experience, put such ideas out of your mind immediately. Books have been written about entire countries that contain a less interesting cast of characters than Lewis-Stempel's account of one field on the edge of Wales. Foxes, red kites and voles become as intricately shaded as characters in an HBO drama, the readers' sympathies swinging between them and their adversaries. Guardian Review