Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nature ID's one year anniversary

Wow. It's been a whole year since I began Nature ID. I'm very pleased with what I'm creating and how the experience has changed me.

Memory is such a shape-shifter. I set out with the goal to document the dates of my nature observations, because I couldn't remember if our local cormorants nested in February or May. Plus, I wanted to prod myself to look up answers to fleeting questions, instead of brushing them off after hikes like ticks. Pictures, even fuzzy ones, capture details I often can't recall properly... Was it five petals? Were there spots on the hindwing? Do I care? Now, I carry my camera with me on most outings and have collected more pictures of nondescript plants and blurry animal forms than is reasonably sane.

Sure there are moments when I think, "WTH am I doing?" Blogging is a time-consuming affair, just ask my husband!... Then I think about the benefits from doing this exercise. Most importantly, Nature ID has brought back my natural curiosity. I tend to get so caught up in what needs to be done, that I forget to ask simple questions or stop to appreciate it all. Now, I'm becoming more aware of what is around me and all those questions are now sticky enough to be asked out loud.

I am without a doubt the biggest visitor to Nature ID. I use my index and archive (disguised as hiking/observation dates) quite a bit as my own reference tool and am already comparing notes with last year, which I learned is called phenology. Also, I've collected a decent repertoire of reference links. I'd probably do just as well with a database or well-organized bookmarks; however, I like having a dedicated place to record my online searches attached to dated photographs and a method to easily solicit others to help with IDs. In the process, I have discovered a whole world of nature-loving bloggers with whom I feel a sense of camaraderie and awe... this is a big deal when so many people would rather squash that spider than take a picture of it.

The past couple of months I've been blogging and commenting more than usual, partly due to odd pockets of time between traveling, partly due to newly added blog lists in the sidebar which catch my attention, and now partly due to my spanking new iMac. If only I can figure out how to get iPhoto to recognize butterflies and plants. I have plans to add a map of locations and additional labels (even I have little patience to scroll through my own 57 entries of native flowers).

Since my IDentity crisis!, I reminded myself what my goals were when I set out on this journey. Eventually, I hope Nature ID from the Central Coast of California will live up to its name. I was starting to add too many extraneous posts, like this one for example, and wasn't staying true to my unique format of backdated entries and staying local. As a result, I've moved all my miscellaneous posts and comments to this 2nd blog Kt's Nature ID companion. It's random and rambling like a typical blog and will probably contain quite a few travel pics as I import and set-up iPhoto.

I created Nature ID for me... and am amazed other people seem to like it, too. Thanks for taking the time to visit. Here's to another year, cheers!

ps 09/16/10 - Once again, I'm reorganizing and so all those misc. post are now back on Nature ID.

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