I started writing posts about what I call “Naturing” (being outside to enjoy nature, vs. “hiking” which I always think of as being outside to walk a significant distance) on Facebook, back in the early days of the pandemic. Not being much of an outdoors person, for various reasons (blood-sucking bugs love me, I hate wearing sunscreen, I don’t enjoy being directly in the sun/heat, and on and on), but being desperate to get out of my house during the first lockdown, I spent every weekday afternoon outside.
Why in the afternoon? Initially, it was to reward ourselves at the end of the day, ensuring we had the first part of the day to do what we needed to get done. But, ultimately I prefer to be outside late in the day. I’m not a Morning Person. I like when the temperatures start to cool off. I love the Golden Hour. And, it turns out that it’s a lot easier to see creatures I’m quite partial to (coyotes, owls, bats) when closer to evening. Hence, “The Afternoon Naturalist.” And, “The Late Afternoon Naturalist” or “Early Evening Naturalist” is a mouthful.
My partner and I started in Golden Gate Park, as it’s a half-block from our house. Once we covered that, we started with other parks in San Francisco, like The Presidio and Lands End and soforth. During this crucial out-of-the-house time, I became interested and then intrigued and then fascinated with all the elements in those outdoor spaces. I started documenting all the flora and fauna I was seeing and made posts about what I encountered to share with friends.
My flora database is over 1000 identifications. I participate in iNaturalist observations. I’m hoping to find time to study SLIME MOLDS. I’m working on a book that’s part field guide and part nature journal. I became a certified California Naturalist during the summer of ’21. Then, AGAIN in May of ’22! Essentially, I’m kind of a totally different person now.
Recently, I decided that I wanted all of my Naturing posts in one place (with all my Instagram photos with it, as well) and in a place friends not on Facebook could see and read. The archived posts aren’t in a pretty format, but at least they’re all together now. I was able to clean up back to the start of August ’21, and that’s about as far as I can go. Unless I get an intern… Let me know if you know someone…
The Afternoon Naturalist
aka Owl Witch
Ok, this is not my usual Naturing look. But, a dear friend requested I dress up as an Owl Witch for Halloween. And, I obliged her. Figured I’d use this here as I don’t have more appropriate recent photos of me. However, if you see a tall gal with a Totoro backpack and binoculars in Golden Gate Park, that’s likely me.
Artwork by Tammy Stellanova.
Photography by Karen Offereins.
Enter your email address to receive email updates on new posts, if you’re into such a thing!