Study of Nature Lesson 1

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Genesis 1:11-25               Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.  The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.  God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.  God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.  God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Study of Nature Introduction

The study of Nature is the informal study of plants and animals, usually in their natural surroundings, and of other natural objects and events. The study of nature is a kind of scientific investigation that takes place in the outdoors rather than in the home or school.

Bird watching, for example, is a popular hobby of adults. Many persons make collections of butterflies, wildflowers, rocks, shells, or fossils. Others photograph natural objects, or make sketches of them.

Some of the most important scientific discoveries have been made by naturalists, persons who study nature in the field, often as a hobby. John James Audubon (1785?–1851) contributed much to the knowledge of American wildlife with his accurate, artistic paintings of birds and mammals in their natural settings. Amateur students of nature have been influential in conservation of wildlife and other resources, and of scenic beauties.

Most people enjoy nature and are curious about it. They find beauty in flowers, trees, and landscapes, and like to watch the activities of animals. They usually want to find out all they can about these things. They want to know what certain animals eat, how birds build their nests, which flowers grow in forests and which in meadows, and why clouds take the forms they do.

Studying Nature, where to get information

In schools and libraries one can find many helpful facts and ideas. There are nature study books for young people in bookstores and libraries. Many museums, especially museums of natural history, have exhibits of natural objects. Some of the exhibits are habitat groups, lifelike specimens of animals and plants shown as they live together in nature. Planetariums and some museums have exhibits showing many interesting facts about the earth and other planets, and the stars. Botanic gardens, zoos, and aquariums contain living things from all over the world. State and national parks often have small museums. In many parks there are nature trails and guides who conduct tours. City parks are often good places to observe small local animals and to study plant life.

Things You Will Need

You will need a notebook and pencils for writing down the facts you discover, and for sketching things you find. It is not necessary to have a camera, microscope, or binoculars but they are helpful. A hand magnifying glass is useful. Small field books that describe natural objects like birds, trees, plants and animals help you identify them.

Safety and Conservation

When exploring nature it is important to remember safety rules. The nature books you read will tell which living things may harm you. For example, it is hard to tell poisonous mushrooms from nonpoisonous ones, so it is wise not to handle any that you find in the field. Poisonous snakes and other dangerous animals should be handled only by experts.

Be careful not to destroy plants and wildlife unnecessarily. Some kinds of plants and animals are becoming scarce, and there are laws to protect them. It is against the law to destroy or collect natural objects in parks and forest preserves. Remember the Pioneer saying, “Take away experiences and pictures and leave only foot prints”.

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