The Nature Study Project was founded as a non-profit organization to facilitate environmental education programs that immerse people in nature through Nature Study workshops and private eco-tours deep into the Louisiana wetlands.
Nature Study workshops explore nature's biodiversity "up close and personal" by collecting and documenting local flora and fauna using macro photography and our live Wonder Dome terrarium. The purpose is to foster a sympathetic relationship with the natural world around us. Science and Art overlap in the realm of wonder to increase our awareness of what nature is constantly giving us and ask, "what am I giving back?".
Our eco-tour mission is to offer unique personal experiences in Louisiana's wetlands as inspiration to artist, writers, journalist, conservationist and other influencers able to bring the urgent story of our wetland loss to the national and international attention it deserves.
What is Nature Study?
“The sympathy that nature study proponents sought was not mere tender sentiment but an emotional and intellectual understanding of the interconnectedness of life. Teachers found it difficult to develop in their students a relationship to nature that was not characterized by one of two extremes: disaffected scientific detachment or maudlin sentiment. The teacher's challenge was to translate the child’s enthusiastic interest in the outdoor world into the acquisition of knowledge and a mature appreciation of the wonders of nature”.
“Part of our current ecological crisis arises from the fact that we have not made the human relationship with the nonhuman world a central part of all learning”.
Kevin C Armitage “The Nature Study Movement, The Forgotten Popularizer of America’s Conservation Ethic” 2009
Nature Study began as an educational movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and emphasized learning directly from nature to develop a more sympathetic knowledge of the outdoors. Educators were trying to reconcile a scientific worldview based on objectivity and efficiency with a spiritual and personal connection to nature. It surfaced as a movement in reaction to the alienation of the modern industrial revolution and the ravaging of our forest and natural world that had just occurred with no understanding of the consequences.
However, the successful popularizing of this movement lead to the creation of the first National Park system. It also created the political pressure for change that resulted in landmark conservation legislation. The Nature Study movement gave birth to the Conservation and Ecology movements we have today... but over time its influence dwindled, having onetime been a required school subject in many state school curriculum. Perhaps it's time to take a look at Nature Study once again!