Big Push towards Natural History

As I posted lasted April I was going to move towards learning more things Natural History. And I did to a small degree by learning several butterfly and tree species. But I also found out, again, I need to be “all in” to learn something. I tried to combine “full-time” birding with learning other things. And it  didn’t work. With my “limited” free time I can’t do both birding and learn new things. So 2018 will see the Big Push towards Natural History.

By next fall I’ll hopefully be able to ID a large percentage of these trees at Brown County State Park. 10/21/17

I don’t plan to stop birding. But I do plan to devote the majority of time in 2018 to learning other Natural History items. How much time? I always thought Seth Godin’s blog post 10,000 Hours was a good start on the subject. 10,000 Hours, or whatever the time, is what distinguishes an advanced hobbyist from an expert in the field.

For example over the years I’ve noticed if I work at a hobby, which I have with birding, after 3-4 years I’ve learned about 80-90%. The remaining 10-20% would take several additional years to learn, if ever. I won’t become the expert on the topic but should be in the “advanced” hobbyist category.

For me this relates to 8-10 hours a week in the field plus an equivalent amount per week studying the topic. So approximately 1000 hours a year. In 3-4 years I’ll have put in 3000-4000 hours. Enough time to be good but not an expert.

I think I can reduce the time because of my birding experience. The mistakes I made not knowing a bird’s status and distribution or the taxonomy relationships of species, I can hopefully avoid with other flora and fauna.

And maybe I’ll learn the common wildflowers. Brown County State Park 10/21/17

So this coming year I’m going to put birding on the back burner. The hope is if I hit other Natural History items hard I’ll get a good footing on Indiana’s flora and fauna. Then over the following years tie it all together.

To accomplish this I’m going to use Butterflying as the vehicle for my next learning adventure.

As previously stated I see butterflying demands you know butterflies, larval hosts such as plants, shrubs, and trees, and the natural areas where they occur.

Big Push towards Natural History
Since I’ve learned a few butterflies I know this is a Red Admiral. But I can only guess at the plant it’s on… Brown County State Park 10/21/17

This learning adventure will be a zigzag path. I’ll continue birding, especially the BBS routes. But the emphasis for the next year will be on learning butterflies and their associated nature groups.

And I’ll share those travels as I travel along.

2 Replies to “Big Push towards Natural History”

  1. I guess all of those leaf and bug collections that I did for school paid off! Also, we had the “Golden”nature guides and I tried to learn the basic species in each one. It does make for a richer outdoor experience.

    1. Hi Kim, we missed you at the CBC. I remember doing a leaf collection but we had an apple, pear, cherry, buckeye, mulberry, and persimmon tree in our yard so it was easy to match up the leaves. Sorry I never took the time to take it farther. I was too wrapped up in astronomy at that time.
      Guess I get to act like a kid again!

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