My dear friends, You may recall that I was accepted in the Tennessee Naturalist class last September. I am having the best time, it's everything I had hoped it would be and more. I've met new people, learned more about my beautiful state's natural world and have renewed my commitment to help protect species, ecosystems and promote sustainable use of natural resources.
There's so much to learn and each class is a smorgasbord of delightful goodies that leaves me hungry to learn more.
I feel incredibly fortunate that I don't have to go very far to find classes. Warner Park Nature Center is a few miles from my house and just last month, I attended two Winter Tree ID classes, signed up for winter animal tracking class and observed the staff and volunteers during their winter bird banding and monitoring program. (here for more info)
I've been observing and photographing the birds that live and visit my garden for years, but getting that close to some of my favorite critters was a delight. I felt like an excited little kid and wanted to reach out to touch and stroke the soft feathers. I didn't but, I sure wanted to...
Nobody, no how gets to handle birds unless they are a bander! It takes years as a trainee and even more to become a Master Bird Bander. In the beginning, trainees observe, help set up the traps, identify the age and sex of a bird and record the information...They start out getting familiar with the big book!
|Sometimes the big book descriptions are needed to id the sex or age of the bird|
I admire their love of birds and deep commitment to the learning process...Although, I am not drawn to banding, these dedicated naturalists are my role models for following your passion and life long learning.
*Part One in the series on my Naturalist adventures
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.