Let’s talk Nature and Culture!

Some people like to say that if you spend all your time outdoors, playing in nature, then you have no culture.  But as a friend once responded to that criticism: “We have lots of culture.  We raise fish, that’s aquaculture!  And we grow trees, that’s silviculture!”

But nature and culture also blend in the true meaning of culture—the pursuit of the arts, music, painting, and literature.  November is a great month to emphasize this, because several outstanding examples occurred in nature.

November 1, for example, is the day on which renowned photographer Ansel Adams snapped his most famous photograph—“Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico.” (learn more about the photograph here)  That photo is a perfect example of Adams’ quote about his photography:  “Sometimes I do get to place just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” (learn more about Ansel Adams here).

Ansel Adams

The month ends with the birthday of another lover of nature, Mark Twain, born on November 30.  Mark Twain’s writings are inexorably intertwined with nature, as were most of his life’s adventures.  He reveled in the coming and going of nature’s rhythms, saying, “To one in sympathy with nature, each season, in its turn, seems the loveliest.” (learn more about Mark Twain here).

November 22 is a special day for nature’s music as well.  On the day, Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite premiered in 1931.  This musical piece is the apex of Grofe’s many tributes to nature in his compositions.  His inspiration was a camping trip at the canyon when he experienced the slow awakening of the landscape at dawn. (learn about Grofe’s work here). 

Poetry finds its way into November’s recognition with the birthday of William Cullen Bryant on the 3rd in 1794.  Bryant is the ultimate “romantic poet,” finding inspiration in the beauty of nature.  He walked many miles every day, letting nature absorb his senses and thoughts.  His paean To a Waterfowl is generally considered the most beautiful poem ever written. (learn more about Bryant here).

Although not listed in the calendar, November 9th is National Visit an Art Museum Day.  So, if the weather leaves you housebound some day this month, why not head to your local art museum and look for nature there.  You’ll be sure to find it!

This Month in Conservation

November 1
Ansel Adams Shoots “Moonrise” (1941)
November 2
National Bison Day
November 3
William Cullen Bryant Born (1794)
November 4
UNESCO Created (1946)
November 5
Ethelwynn Trewavas Born (1900)
November 6
International Day to Protect the Environment during War
November 7
Costa Rica Constitution Enacted (1949)
November 8
World Town Planning Day
November 9
First Live Panda Leaves China (1936)
November 10
Guinness Book of World Records Born (1951)
November 11
Leonardo DiCaprio Born (1974)
November 12
Salim Ali Born (1896)
November 13
Amory Lovins Born (1947)
November 14
US Crushes Elephant Ivory (2013)
November 15
America Recycles Day
November 16
Global Climate Change Research Act Passed (1990)
November 17
David Livingstone Arrives at Victoria Falls (1855)
November 18
Asa Gray, Father of American Botany, Born (1810)
November 19
World Toilet Day
November 20
John Merle Coulter, Pioneering Botanist, Born (1851)
November 21
Lava Beds National Monument Created (1925)
November 22
Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite” Premiered (1931)
November 23
National Eat-A-Cranberry Day
November 24
“On the Origin of Species” Published (1859)
November 25
Nikolai Vavilov, Pioneering Russian Agronomist, Born (1887)
November 26
Anna Maurizio, Swiss Bee Expert, Born (1900)
November 27
Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Born (1955)
November 28
Elsie Quarterman, Plant Ecologist, Born (1910)
November 29
U.S. Rations Coffee (1942)
November 30
Mark Twain, American Humorist, Born (1835)
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