Simplicity for the Naturalist

basic daypack for field excursions
basic daypack for field excursions

My naturalist training group spent the afternoon in the field the other day. We were in a wooded area of Fairmount Park. We did wetlands activities, bird behavior, plant identification and searched for reptiles and amphibians.

Yet again I learned the importance of carrying very few items of equipment. Lucky, I have learned this the hard way after years of nature walks, but it bears repeating. I fight hard to take just a few things with me. The most useful items are my five senses, a notepad, binoculars and a hand lens. Much more than this and the bag is too heavy and awkward. And I spend every few moments adjusting or re-positioning something.

I write this post for the newbies out there. Take little and experience everything.

My binoculars are good ones. They were moderately priced but the image is clear and sharp. The binoculars let me spot a Blackburnian Warbler (I think) moving quickly if annoyingly through the tree branches. (For Pete’s sakes why won’t warblers hold still?)

My little hand lens is simple and about fifteen years old, but it showed me and several others the foamy, plant tissue of a sedge. This plant tissue looked like Styrofoam and filtered the gasses from the water.

My simple notepad kept notes of what I had seen, what I had heard and what I did. It cost less than a dollar. Nothing fancy there.

My camera is middle of the line. Not too expensive but full of features. And it takes fantastic photos. The  one in the photo is the little pocket camera I always keep with me.

Resist. I say resist the endless stream of junk we have pushed at us from every angle. Keep it simple and explore, not rack up debt.

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