SG596: The Naturalist’s Notebook with Nat Wheelwright

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Naturalist Nat Wheelwright is on the show today and he’s sharing an incredible resource he created with Bernd Heinrich - it’s a 5-year-calendar-journal and it’s called The Naturalist’s Notebook. When Storey Publishing sent Nat's book to me before Thanksgiving, I have to tell you I actually gasped when I opened it, because it is so beautiful and it’s such a unique resource. I think it’s great for gardeners and it’s great for folks who are working on being more mindful. It’s a humble tool that can yield powerful results because it provides such a wonderful way to not only record the goings-on in the natural world around you - but it’s also a simple and clever way to begin to see the rhythms and the patterns of nature around you. You’re going to love listening to Naturalist Nat Wheelwright and you are especially going to enjoy getting yourself and your friends a copy of The Naturalist’s Notebook.

I think this book is such a treasure because it’s an amazing personal resource - that’s loaded with these incredible hand-drawn sketches - these pen-and-ink drawings and watercolors - that are simply stunning. 99% are created by Bernd Heinrich and then there’s all this wonderful information and inspiration from Nat. The Naturalist’s Notebook is a 5-year-calendar-journal - it’s meant to be written in and reviewed periodically.  The spreadsheet format is set up to give you a space to write on a two-page spread that covers about 8 days over 5 years - so you have 40 squares to write in - and it’s just the most beautiful, simple resource.  Here’s the best part about it: we put in our little observations in the squares (the little dramas we discover when we look closely at our gardens and at nature), take joy in observing the small things around us, and simply let ourselves get carried away by our curiosity. Then, over time, those individual observations and recordings begin to tell a story, showing patterns that would otherwise go unnoticed, revealing the rhythm of nature in the world around us. That’s a tremendous gift that can only come from recording nature in this fashion.  
In today’s episode, you’ll hear Nat talk about how we can all benefit from this beautiful resource he created with Bernd Heinrich. He’s going to help us become more observant - something anyone can do according to Nat (and he should know!) Nat has a special knack for helping others relate to the natural world. He’s genuinely curious - his mind devises experiments and questions that have an intuitive and sensitive origin.  One thing you can take away from today’s chat with Nat is his reverence for the natural world.  Pay special attention to the way he describes being out in nature and see if you aren’t inspired by the way he clearly savors his time in nature - enjoying every minute of genuine contact with natural world.
For my sign-off today, I leave you with this thought to help you grow...
Imagine how much more you would be able to experience (and to express) if you were able to stop and really look,
to genuinely connect with the natural world around you - whether that’s your garden, a park in your neighborhood, or any place that is available to you.  
Have a great week!

Thanks for Listening!

Still Growing,

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Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
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