Wednesday, 16 April 2014

N is for Nature Study and Naturalists ...


Tide right out – is the best time to study the rocky shore, especially at low spring tide ...


... throughout history scientists and researchers have studied our shore lines to understand the way nature works and the way nature is changing ...



Studying our shores ... we all enjoy whichever pastimes we chose: children paddle, surfers ride the waves, naturalists study plants and animals, bird watchers watch, walkers stride or perambulate ... while anyone can appreciate the beauty ...


1929 Illustration

Tools and ideas that may help ... a bucket and spade, a net or two, a ‘heavy’ net with a wooden leading edge for sifting through wet sand, various water-proof items: a torch, pens and ‘paper’, a camera, perhaps an artist’s kit ... tide tables could be a sensible idea ...





Low tide




... another suggestion to keep many amused: stretch a piece of string from low-tide to high-tide marks ... and moving up the string from low-tide ... records the commonest types of sea-weeds and creatures at each stage ... but waaaaatch out ... that tide comes tumbling back in ...



Claude Monet (1865)
France: "La Pointe de la Heve at low tide"
Sift through the wet sand to see ... shrimps, cockles and other edible shore creatures – sadly we may have over-shrimped many shores ...


Draw and record your findings ... write them up when you get home ...



We should be amazingly grateful to those N for Naturalists, who so meticulously recorded life at the shore, on the land and in the air ...


Gosse's illustrated plate;
British sea anemones
and corals (1860)
In my Aspects of the British Countryside, N was also for Naturalist ... and I wrote about four of our British early nature lovers, who recorded so much for posterity ... and set the standards ...


... today I add two more: Philip Gosse (1810 – 1888) studied shore life in Devon – his son, Edmund, described how his father would “wade breast-high into one of the huge pools and examine the worm-eaten surface of a rock ... there used often to lurk a marvellous profusion of animal and vegetable forms” ....  


In 1865 – Philip Gosse’s Year at the Shore was published ... he was also a talented artist and had illustrated and drawn the specimens he collected during his trips.

 
Mary Anning with her dog 'Tray'
who was killed in a mudslide from
the Black Ven cliff
Mary Anning (1799 – 1847), is a lady, who deserves mention; her unusual life story attracted increasing interest ... Charles Dickens wrote of her in 1865 that “the carpenter’s daughter has won a name for herself, and has deserved to win it”.



In 2010, one hundred and sixty-three years after her death, the Royal Societyincluded Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science.


The Jurassic coast of Dorset, where Mary Anning found
her large reptiles in the shales of the Black Ven, with
Golden Cap in the background.



Anning was a British fossil collector, dealer and palaeontologist who became known around the world for a number of important finds she came across in the Jurassic marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis, Dorset.



Anning’s gender and social class prevented her from fully participating in the scientific community of 19th C Britain ... she struggled financially for much of her life.  Her family were poor, and as religious dissenters, were subject to legal discrimination ... yet look at the recognition now: it takes its time!


Charmouth is found between Black Ven and Golden Cap ... Golden Cap is the highest point along the south coast of Britain at 191m (627 feet).  Golden Cap is so called for the distinctive outcropping of golden greensand rock present at the very top of the cliff.


That is N for Nature Study and Naturalists ... a natural subject for Aspects of British Coasts ...


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

33 comments:

Weekend-Windup said...

Nice to read about a good word in N. Love the nature!

kaushikgovind said...

I've always wondered about the various aspects of nature. Its abundance and variety is beyond comparison and imagination. And the study of nature is one amazing thing. Cheers ~ Kaushik

Bob Scotney said...

What no nudists?

Juliet Batten said...

Oh yes, low tide reveals all the fascinating life of the sea shore. How fascinating to hear about Mary Anning. I'd never heard of her. And the enthusiasm of Philip Gosse - reminds me of a zoology lecturer here in Auckland who would wade through muddy estuaries oblivious to the mud splatters.

Maggie Winter said...

oh what a fascinating woman, Mary Anning, hard to comprehend how hard they really did have to struggle against the tide, outstanding.England has a wonderful coast line, I'm enjoying seeing it through your eyes, thank you.:)
Loving the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

Sharon Bradshaw said...

This is such an interesting post, Hilary, thank you and for the lovely pictures. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The sea shore is a wonderful place to be, and there are many treasures to be found in nature. There's Mary Anning too with her fossils, she must have had some lovely days searching for them.

Manzanita said...

Women really have been low end of the totem pole. This Mary Anning sounds like a woman who today, could have been at the top of the pole. I'm glad to see she is finally getting credit for her work.

Fanny Barnes Thornton said...

Hi Hilary
Mary Anning was an amazing woman to have influenced science at that time.

I love seascape paintings, but don't have one. I'll get round to making do with a print one day.

This post reminded me of my son, when he was twelve, buying a night-line on our way to Wales. I still haven't a clue what it was for! I suppose it was to catch some unsuspected creature. He didn't have any luck.

Congratulations, by the way, for having posted over 600 blogs. I doubt if I'll ever reach that amount - who knows?

Brian Miller said...

when we used to live in florida i used to dive and bring up all kind of ocean life to show my sons...it was pretty amazing....

Tina said...

Oh you want me to dig my toes in the sand and looks for creatures and shells.
It's such a shame that it took so long for women to be recognized as people with the same brain capacity as a man...grrr...glad she now has the distinction she so richly deserves.
You must take me to Golden Cap when I come :-)
Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

L.G. Smith said...

I always wanted to find one of those tide pool beaches where you can find crabs and starfish when the tide goes out. Haven't had any luck with that yet, but some day. :)

Great series, Hilary!

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I saw a documentary about Anning a while ago; she made some amazing finds. I was never much one for collecting wildlife on a beach - I used to use my bucket and spade for making sandcastles :). Besides which I'm afraid of most of the wildlife ::g::
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

Bish Denham said...

I have never heard of Mary Anning. What a strong woman she must have been. I tell you, I get frustrated hearing stories like her's. Think of the discoveries that might have been sooner, if women had been allowed to be educated!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I really admire those women who stepped beyond the strictures of the times and society to pursue their intellectual interests. Think of all the great minds wasted before women were permitted to follow their career desires.

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

I would love to be sitting on a beach somewhere digging my toes in.

There is something about early drawings/sketchings of nature that really mean a lot.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Over a hundred and fifty years later - now that's delayed recognition!

Lisa said...

Hello Hilary, I came by last night and read M is for marshes, but was so tired I didn't leave a comment, so I'm rectifying that now, and I'm glad I waited because I need to comment on Mary Anning. I have never heard of her and though it was long in coming, am glad of her recognition! I wonder if anyone has done a biography, or even a novel about her life. I think I'll Google that! She sounds like she was an amazing, strong and stoic woman... Thanks so much for sharing her with us!

Suze said...

What a wonderful commendation from Charles Dickens.

And, like you, I feel a debt to Naturalists who spend their lives quite outwardly-centered for the benefit of all. Come to think of it, you are quite the member of their tribe. :)

klahanie said...

Hey Hilary,

Yes, my crude mind misread your title. No Nudity and Never mind.

Mary Anning. Thanks for the reminder about her. I should read up about her more in your link.

Penny's fictional human,

Gary

mail4rosey said...

I always think it's kind of bittersweet when a person is recognized for something AFTER they've passed. The discoveries are wonderful for others, but how must it feel to pass and not know you've made a difference.

rosaria williams said...

What a treasure trove of information you are, on any subject!

Inger said...

Your posts are so fascinating because you take the time and do the research and then put it together in an easy to read format. I'm reading some other interesting blogs right now where the font is so darned small or it is in light green on a dark green background and who, over the age of 30, can read stuff like that.

All the above is to say Thank You.

I also posted Nature today, but mostly a bunch of pretty pictures.

Julie Flanders said...

I've never heard of Mary Anning but what a fascinating lady she must have been. Frustrating that it took so long for her to get the recognition she earned, but better late than never I guess. I just wish she could have gotten the respect she deserved in her lifetime. Informative post as always, Hilary.

Paula Kaye said...

I love the illustrations you used today!

Editors At Work said...

Loved this interesting post. And the photos are great.

Nas

loverofwords said...

Mary Anning, hard to have been a woman in those years, curious, intelligent, but not respected or listened to. I agree with mail4rosey who said that it is bittersweet when a person is recognized after their death.

janice | Sharing the Journey said...

I'm ashamed I've never heard of Mary Anning - what a discovery! Never occurred to me that someone was first responsible for discovering all those now famous fossils.

I'm still smiling at the ingeniousness of Guillemots'eggs!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Weekend –Windup .. many thanks – Nature is so important isn’t it ..

@ Kaushik – as you mention Nature is beyond comparison and so essential in all its formats to us ..

@ Bob – nope – no nudists!

@ Juliet – sometimes the tide is really low –and that’s when it’s wonderful to go out paddling. Your zoology lecturer sounds a great inspirer ... I’m glad Mary Anning is coming to the fore and being recognised ... Gosse did extraordinary work ...

@ Maggie –I’m pleased I’m highlighting Mary Anning .. ife was tough for women in those days .. and thanks Maggie ...

@ Sharon – we do live in a special part of the world for its knowledge and history, as well as its varied geology and all it reveals ..

@ Manzanita – unfortunately yes .. some kept their heads above water by sheer dogged determination ... Mary Anning is finally being fully recognised ..

@ Fanny – isn’t Mary Anning amazing to find out about. I’ve a few sea pictures – so I’m lucky. I’m glad it brought back memories of that trip to Wales with your son ... we all have ideas when we’re kids – the imagination kicks in .. still we tried.

Thanks re the 600 posts ... I just toddled slowly along seeing as I don’t post that often ... 100 fall into the A-Z category ... and as you say who knows whether you’ll make it – I certainly never considered it – and am somewhat surprised.

@ Brian – I’m sure life under the Florida waters must be wonderful to see – sea creatures do abound ..

@ Tina – well I hope you can get to the sea-shore sometime again. I know it’s amazing the discrimination against women even now ... I’ll take you to Golden Cap when you visit ... it’ll be my first time too ...

@ Luanna – a real good tidal pool series would be wonderful wouldn’t it – with all the species in situ for us to see .. I remember seeing a few when I was a child in Cornwall in the rocks near Godrevy lighthouse ..

@ Natasha – I missed that documentary and hope it gets shown again: seemingly she was the one person to realise that there were major finds along the Jurassic coast – I must visit the museum down there.

For someone who writes about ghouls and vampires – then says you’re afraid of wildlife ... who would have thought!!

@ Bish –I’m glad I recognised her here. More women are coming to the fore, who weren’t previously recognised ... I just can’t not credit someone for their idea.

You’re right about how much better the world might have been if women had been treated as equal all along – when will that happen? Let’s hope it doesn’t hold humans back from leading a full life without war and strife ...

@ Susan – there were some very dedicated women to their passions of exploration in various scientific fields ..

As you mention – we may know of some the great minds who never fully fulfilled their dreams, but like you say all the other women, who never got a look in. I suspect in some countries the old norms prevail ...


Thanks so much - so lovely to see you all here interacting with Natures! part 2 following ....

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa – sitting on warm sun is blissful isn’t it, with a lapping sea nearby ... just so relaxing. The drawings are so detailed and meticulous – so I totally agree with you .. they are amazing ..

@ Alex – yes that is belated recognition isn’t it ..

@ Lisa – oh no worries – the A-Z is always a challenge to get everywhere and I’m just very grateful for any and all the visits I get. Happy to hear you enjoyed the Marshes.

Mary Anning is one special lady seemingly and I must find out more about her ... I followed your example and bought the Shelley Emling book (not Tracy Chevalier) ... on reading the initial blurb – this sounded very interesting ..

@ Suze – yes Dicken’s quote stands out doesn’t it ... thanks so much, I’m afraid I can’t take much credit except to say I post about things that interest me and thus I feel anyone who reads here .. and thankfully some of you have similar knowledge thirst to me ..

@ Gary – nope – no nudity ... I didn’t want to upset Penny! I was interested to see the Royal Society had included Anning in their list of ten British Women who had most influenced scientific life. I need to read up on the others ..

@ Rosie – as you say it is bittersweet her recognition ... I guess she was tied up in her work ... and in those days wouldn’t have many regrets as she couldn’t possibly have foreseen how much is accessible now to all peoples ... we really can find out so much ...

@ Rosaria – many thanks and much appreciated

@ Inger – that’s really good that you notice the way I set the posts out and I have endeavoured to make them easy to read ... and have kept everything as simple as possible. I can’t read some blogs I must join you in that observation ..

N for Nature in your Canyon must be just so beautiful – I love seeing the photos ...

@ Julie – at least she’s coming to the fore now ... and we can find out more about her and the fossils she realised were valuable to research and were so different ...

@ Paula – many thanks ... I enjoy using photos or illustrations as it makes some things easier to understand ...

@ Nas – many thanks ..

@ Natalie – very hard to have been a woman in that era I agree, but seemingly the family were poor and she just would have been a part of that life ... her father was quizzy too ... they survived that was the main thing in those days I guess. At least we know about her now ..

@ Janice – well I hadn’t heard of Anning except via other ‘research’ I’d been doing, when I saw mention of her accomplishments – then I took note.

Love the phrase the ingeniousness of the Guillemots’ eggs – Nature is quite extraordinary ...


Cheers everyone and thanks so much for visiting .. Hilary

Sara said...

My favorite part of this one was your writing about Mary Anning. I'll have to look her up. I love reading about women who dared to challenge the belief they couldn't do something. She sounds an interesting woman:~)

Sharon Himsl said...

Have never heard Mary Anning's story. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad she is finally getting some credit!
Shells–Tales–Sails

Michelle Wallace said...

I'm wondering where the nudists fit in? Wouldn't they be part of naturalists? Or is it naturists?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sara - Mary Anning has been picked up by the journalists recently and authors ... I didn't buy the Tracy Chevalier book, but the one by Shelley Emling "The Fossil Hunter" - which I'm looking forward to reading ...

@ Sharon - as per my answer to Sara - I hope you might have a chance to read up about her ..

@ Michelle - nudists would have separate beaches ... there must be some here ... but I don't know where ... I think they fall under Naturists ... and yes we have a beach designated to them in Brighton, not far away ... not for me though!

Cheers to you all and thanks so much and I hope if you get a chance you can read up on Mary Anning .. Hilary