Why is Natural History Important?

Journaling in a field of flowersWhen encouraged to observe nature deeply, people often develop a lasting understanding and desire to protect the environment. Here at the Norris Center and at UCSC overall, we are expanding opportunities to cultivate natural history skills for students of all ages, and foster their passion for the natural world. In doing so, we've observed the following additional benefits of practicing natural history:

Natural history teaches people how to look and ask. Everyone benefits from learning how to look deeply for details and patterns and how to ask informed relevant questions. These skills are essential across varying disciplines including policy, economics, science, art, and business.

Natural history inspires creativity. Nature often supplies us with mysteries that encourage careful observation, interpretation, and reflection.  Puzzling about the "whys" and "hows" of a pattern observed in the natural world invites any naturalist to innovate in their attempt to discover answers.

Natural history directly informs scientific research. There is no substitute for direct observation of one's study species or landscape. The very raw material that compose most of the biological disciplines come from direct observations of the natural world.

Natural history can lead to deep emotional connection. Careful and direct experience with nature encourage participants to care more deeply for the planet.