The Curious Nature Guide: Memorable Outdoor Experiences

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“Try This”… My Four Memorable Outdoor Experiences

Catalyst Expedition in the Puget Sound

Oregon Master Naturalist coursework- beach transect

Bald Eagle encounter at Ash Island Slough

Sharing nature with my grand daughter

Reflective Moment

I’ve been spending time outdoors for over sixty years… Why did I select these as the four memorable experiences? Why do they matter? The main reason for each is because the experience had a life-changing impact on how I currently view being an Earth citizen.

The expedition in the Puget Sound included island hikes and kayak paddles led by a trained onboard naturalist. My view of nature was enriched by her ability to blend together local ecologic and human history elements. She broadened my perspectives how these elements fit together and inspired me to enter into further study.

Those studies were through Oregon State University. I enrolled in the Oregon Master Naturalist Program and completed classroom and field studies for naturalist certification. The field studies, like this one near Newport, Oregon, represent intensive hands-on learning guided by experts in geology, oceanography, human history, botany, resource management, and more. I loved this learning adventure and the dramatic affect it had in motivating me to continue ecology-related studies.

My kayak has been a tool that never fails to take me places where my awareness, appreciation, and sense of wonder thrive. One of the most impacting paddles was on a day when a Bald Eagle flew from a perch high in an Ash Tree and landed on an exposed log in the stream only about 30 feet from my craft. After patiently studying the water flow around him, the eagle grabbed a fish with his talons and took off in front of me. I still marvel that I got that photograph… it took several minutes after he disappeared from sight to actually breathe again. The power of this bird will never be an experience that I will find words to tell about it, but, the respect I feel for Nature was dramatically enhanced that day.

The memorable experiences of sharing Nature with my grand daughter are only beginning. The details she notices bring me back down to the ground and lift me to the sky… in fact, I feel choked up inside imagining how we will open natural worlds for each other. I’m blessed to have this chapter starting in my life as we explore write-outside together. Although she is not formally “writing” yet… her words are blossoming… the key is found.

Guiding Question

When you think about times you’ve spent outdoors, what four experiences come to your mind? Why do they matter?

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