Just what is a neoNaturalist anyhow?

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Next week will mark the 7th anniversary of neoNaturalist.com. When the site started out I just wanted to provide trail descriptions from a naturalist’s perspective, rather than the bland, “trail is 1.5 miles long and gets muddy when it rains” drivel that you could find on the internet then. The idea was that you could get a naturalist’s perspective 24 hours a day via this relatively new (neo-) electronic medium.

My thinking has evolved from there. So has the site. Most of the traffic used to come from search terms like “ohio trails” or “hiking in Ohio”. Now, the site is indexed and ranks highly for things like “nature terms” (number one out of 294,000,000 results on Google as of this moment), “tree identification” (number 2 out of 1,220,000 right now on Google) or “lucky stones” (Number 7 out of 1,070,000).

As the content shifted more toward Nature, I have begun thinking more and more about the place of humans in Nature and how to connect more closely with Nature. To try to understand my own position and thoughts about Nature, I started writing as a means of introspection on the topic.

That document turned into a bit of a manifesto that clarified for me what the web site is about and what its focus should be. It might have also shifted the way I deliberately think about the world and what I do on a daily basis.

I have decided that rather than keep my personal ideas about Nature to myself, I will share them in hopes that maybe my thoughts will stimulate others to think about their place in Nature and hopefully get a little more connected with the world.

I have posted my “neoNaturalist Manifesto” for download as a PDF here. Take a look and please send me feedback via email to webmaster@neonaturalist.com or via twitter @neoNaturalist.

I hope this is useful to you!

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