Hampshire College Naturalists
I think of a scientific naturalist as a person with a deep and broad familiarity with one or more groups of organisms or ecological communities, who can draw on her knowledge of systematics, distribution, life histories, behavior, and perhaps physiology and morphology to inspire ideas, to evaluate hypotheses, to intelligently design research with an awareness of organisms' special peculiarities. Even more, perhaps, he is the person who is inexhaustibly fascinated by biological diversity, and who does not view organisms merely as models, or vehicles for theory but, rather, as the raison d'etre for biological investigation, as the Ding an sich, the thing in itself, that excites our admiration and our desire for knowledge, understanding, and preservation.
- Douglas Futuyama
The goal of this group is to foster stronger relationships between people and their environment. Through weekly meetings, networking, field trips, nature walks, and workshops, we hope to get the Hampshire community involved in active learning about the local environment. Some specific areas of interest to the group are natural history, geology, hydrology, animal tracking, disturbance history, human land use, ecological communities, and plant and animal identification. By providing information and educating the Hampshire community, we hope to encourage a greater respect for and understanding of the environment on campus and in the surrounding area.
In the past semester we've organized and carried out hikes, birding trips, anatomy labs, Hampshire tree identification walks, discussed science articles, attended a lecture in entomology, and fostered inter-Divisional cooperation with a lecture on how to apply for science internships. More specifically, this semester our group mounted a “sightings board” on the first floor of Cole Science Center to engage the community and facilitate interest in the natural diversity that exists on our campus. We also hosted a "Birds and Breakfast" even involving the Enfield [Greenhouse] Mod. Our founding members have unique experiences and skills that will be shared with the community via nature walks around campus and the Hampshire woods to teach plant and bird identification to any faculty, staff and student interested.
We hope to involve as much of the community as possible during these walks. Future plans include a trip to the American Museum of Natural History, Harvard Forest, and the Amherst Natural History Museum. We also plan on attending the Old Growth Forest conference and organizing animal tracking excursions, geological surveys, night hikes, and invasive species walks.
This group was informally founded in Fall 2013 by students in Professor Noah Charney's Field Naturalist course as a way to further hone students' knowledge and skills related to natural history outside of the classroom, while also building a larger network of interested students. In Spring 2014, the "Hampshire College Naturalists" were officially recognized as a student group, opening the doors to increased funding and support.
Events Fall 2013
You can subscribe to our mailing list here for weekly updates. You can also keep track of us personally by joining our facebook group. The group is public so anyone can join! We welcome ID requests, wildlife sightings, interesting articles, and other biology related discussion. All events will be advertised via our mailing list, facebook page, and Hampedia.
Final Meeting: Planet Earth Screening
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 6:00pm-8:00pm
Come celebrate the end of classes with the Hampshire College Naturalists as we screen episodes from the award-winning BBC series "Planet Earth."
We will be screening the first 1-hour episode of this series on the big screen, an we can also show a second episode if there is interest.
Mexican dinner will be provided from El Comalito!
Natural Science Internship Talks
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 5:30pm-6:30pm
Naturalist Club signers will be giving short presentations about their past internship experiences and other learning opportunities, and how students can best take advantage of the resources that are out there.
There will be delicious Mexican Food from El Comalito for all attendees!
Arcadia Bog Trip
Sunday November 24, 2013 12:30pm-3:00pm
The trip that started it all: Arcadia Bog in Belchertown, MA. This Sunday we'll visit Arcadia Bog and experience its unique ecosystem firsthand. Sunday is supposed to be very cold and snowy, so dress as warmly as possible! On the way back we'll stop at Esselon cafe for cocoa / coffee.
Screening of Microcosmos
Wednesday November 6, 2013 5:30pm until 7:00pm
Join the Hampshire College Naturalists for large quantities of Mexican food from El Comalito and a screening of the 1996 documentary "Microcosmos."
"Utilizing special macroscopic photographic techniques, filmmakers Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou created this fascinating and visually spectacular look at the hidden worlds in the life cycle of an ordinary meadow in France. When seen through the lens of Nuridsany and Perennou's cameras, insects become gigantic beasts, blades of grass turn into towering monuments, and raindrops form puddles that resemble vast oceans. The filmmakers find humor, drama, and beauty in the lives of these tiny flora and fauna as caterpillars transform themselves into butterflies, beetles struggle with their day's foraging, and snails reproduce their species. Microcosmos was a multiple prize winner at the 1996 French Academy of Cinema Awards; the American release version features narration by actress Kristin Scott Thomas." (From RottenTomatoes.com - this film has a 97% rating from the site)
Bare Mountain Nature Hike
Sunday November 3, 2013 10:30am-2:00pm
Join the Hampshire College Naturalists for a leisurely hike up Bare Mountain to catch some beautiful Fall foliage while learning about the geology and natural history of the Pioneer Valley.
We will meet outside Cole Science Center, side entrance, at 10:30am - then we'll catch the 10:45am bus to the Notch Visitor Center.
Nature Drawing Workshop with Jennie Hale
Friday November 1, 2013 10:30am-11:30am
Naturalist/Artist/Community Educator Jennie Hale is visiting from England to host a special workshop with the course "Innovations for Change" - and has cordially extended the invitation to the Naturalist Club! Jennie works with children and families of all ages and ability levels to cultivate their awareness and appreciation for the local environment through observational drawing.
Jennie is the artist coordinator of Workshop Under the Sky (http://www.workshopunderthesky.co.uk/) , nomadic environmental art workshops where artists and scientists work together to enable participants to explore and learn about the natural world around them.
Have no fear - if you think you can't draw, this workshop is still for you!
Basics in Astronomy
Tuesday October 29, 2013 8:30pm
Come learn the basics about our place in the cosmos and what it means for how we view the stars. We'll talk briefly inside while enjoying hot apple cider, then go outside and learn about constellations and their stories.
Meadowlands Bug Hunt
Wednesday October 23, 2013 5:30pm
At the end of the S2013 semester, Hampshire College converted most of the big lawn near the Red Barn to managed meadow, with a reduced mowing schedule timed to avoid the nesting season of grassland birds. In part an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the project also provides us with a new habitat to explore.
Join the Hampshire College Naturalists at our weekly meeting time for a sampling expedition - we'll provide the bug-catching nets! We'll try to identify and document some of the species making use of this new meadow habitat.
Bring insect field guides if you have them!
For more info on the Meadowlands Project: http://sites.hampshire.edu/educatingforchange/2013/06/10/transforming-lawns-into-meadows/ We will also talk a bit about the details of the project as a group.
Fungi Field Trip with the Hitchcock Center
Saturday October 19, 2013 2:00pm-4:00pm
Join us as we explore the fungal diversity of Mt. Toby with Dianna Smith, mycology educator and expert! Dianna will teach us about fungal evolution, ecology and identification. Bring a basket and knife because we'll be collecting edible fungi if we find any.
This will be a great opportunity to learn about edible fungi with an expert, so we hope you can join. However, space is limited and we can only take 8 students, so RVSP as soon as possible. The event is normally $20 per person, but Hampshire will be covering all costs. This means you should only commit if you're sure you can go. Hampshire may ask you to cover their losses if you don't show up.
More info about the event here: http://hitchcockcenter.org/index.php/calendar_main/event/464/
Wild Edibles On Campus
Wednesday October 9, 2013 5:30pm
This week we're going to investigate the wild edibles around Hampshire's campus. Depending on how many people show up we can split into groups, collect different things, then reconvene and discuss / prepare what we've found.
Some things we're hoping to look for include autumn olive, white pine, staghorn sumac, lamb's quarters, and black walnuts.
Events Spring 2013
Final Nature Walk of the Semester!
Wednesday May 1, 2013 5:00 pm
May 1st will be the Hampshire College Naturalists' final meeting of the semester! In order to celebrate all we've done this year and reflect on what a great experience and resource this student group has been, we will be holding a nature walk around campus, open to the entire Hampshire community. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to attend! The walk will include an optional scavenger hunt so brush up on your plant/animal ID skills! Also bring field guides and binoculars if you have them (some will be provided). We will meet in front of Cole Science Center at 5pm and the walk will go for however long people want it to. Cider donuts are likely!
Birds and Breakfast
Saturday April 27, 2013 7:00 am
Who on earth would want to wake up at 7 AM during finals week? Us! Come find birds and eat breakfast! Detach from finals/Div III for a couple hours and witness spring migration as it picks up! Departing at 7am, we'll be looking for migrants around campus. We'll return around 10 AM to feast on a hardy breakfast. Event held in conjunction with Enfield Greenhouse Mod. Binoculars, field guides, and expert opinion will be provided.
Northeast Natural History Conference
April 13-15, 2013
We are trying to arrange a trip to the Northeast Natural History Conference, taking place in Springfield, MA from April 13-15. Before we can apply for funding we need a head count. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org before March 3rd if you are interested.
Dusk Owl Hunt
Wednesday March 6, 2013 5:30 pm
The weather will be warmer this week, so maybe we can observe some owl behavior in the Hampshire Woods! This should also be a great opportunity to see other nocturnal/crepuscular animals and practice constellation ID. For now the exact time is tentative but sunset is at 5:48 pm, so we'll discuss it from there.
Winter Tree ID Tutorial
Tuesday February 26, 2013 4-4:45 pm
Winter means no leaves but you can still ID trees via bark, buds, and branch morphology. Join us for a walk around the Hampshire woods and learn to ID winter trees! Let's meet in 2-Open in Cole and leave from there. Bring tree field guides if you have them.
We now have an online book directory! The list is sorted alphabetically by taxonomic subject but you can also use command+F (or ctrl+F) to search for a keyword. Then just email the book's owner to discuss borrowing terms. Let one of the signers know if you'd like to be added as an editor to contribute your own books for use by the community.
- Tons of resources here from massbird.org. One stop shopping!