Alex Palmer's Natural History Notes and Thoughts

Thoughts and reflections on various social and environmental issues, as well as naturalist observations from the great outdoors.

the need for notes….good notes

I have just arrived back from Ecuador where I spent the last 3 months studying tropical conservation in the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains. One of my daily tasks and requirements when I was out in the field was to take notes using the system first established by Joseph Grinell in the late 1800s, and then modernized with more relevant methodology by Herman in 1980 (See link below)
http://books.google.com/books?id=HKKXQgAACAAJ&dq=grinnell+journal&ei=oCspS9PzBZTcyATNiN3ECg&cd=5

My instructors in Ecuador made me realize the importance of taking good natural history notes out in the field. While the Grinell format is very rigid and inflexible, it helped me come up with a system for natural history notes. All too often do I go out in the field and look at all the pretty birds and flowers, but never do I write it down, whether for a good memory or accurate scientific data! These observations that I make out in the field, whether subjective or quantitative, must be documented in an orderly and easiyl accessible way. This only makes sense.

I hope over the next few years, as I graduate from college and find new jobs, that I can improve my notes and my rate of note taking out in the field. It will be a challenge for me, but a necessary one.

I leave with one last photo to share. There is much to see in this photo of the cloud forest in the highlands of Ecuador:

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