52 Species; A Year Long Nature Project
The project is a way to connect with nature and deepen your relationship with species. Each week I’ll choose a species that interests me and that I want to learn about. I expect I’ll choose species that I see when I’m out for walks as I wish to learn more about my local area. As an artist I also want this project to be an opportunity for me to use paints and crayons, as I often do many of my drawing digitally. You might like to do the project by taking photos,reading nature guides or having conversations.
There are no rules. When we make lots of rules it can add pressure and when we don’t manage to stick to those rules it can feel disheartening. I encourage you to have a vague idea of how you want the project to go, but also be comfortable with knowing it will look different throughout the year. You may not learn about 52 species, you may only spend ten minutes on a conversation one week and that is absolutely fine! You can choose which species to learn about, perhaps you learn about species you see locally or perhaps you’ll learn about species in a country your family is from, Or species in a specific habitat like deep sea, woodland or beach.
I’m choosing to learn about local species as I think it will deepen my understanding of my local natural area. It’s my hope this will extend my understanding of how I fit into local ecosystems and enable me to see how local ecosystems or natural habitats are being affected. I expect that this will in turn influence my activism and the projects I’m involved in locally. I believe that the better we know about our local environment the easier it is to see how it is being affected and where and how it is flourishing.
I encourage you to have a rough idea of how you want to record what you learn. As I wish for this project to also be a creative project for myself, I’ll be using an old photograph album as a scrapbook and adding painted pictures, notes, questions, poems or anything else that the species inspire. You may not want to record your findings, however if you do want to, you could photograph species, draw sketches, write notes, questions, adjectives, poems, facts and descriptions. The possibilities are endless – I’m particularly interested in old ways of life and folk lore, I’ll enjoy finding out about how species showed up in British folk lore and tales as well as how species were used in old ways of life. Perhaps you’ll have limited space and time and so maybe you’ll just have a small notebook and a pencil. Those two instruments are all you need and will enable you to record what you discover during this project. You can be as creative as you like and commit as much time and space as you like.
Do I/we want to study local species?
Is there a group of species I/we wish to learn about?
Will my/our studies be done outside or at home?
Will I/we use field guides, nature books, internet,
Will I/we record our findings? How?
Will our studies be down outside or at home?