Geoscience Reference
In-Depth Information
promotion of citizenship through popular natural science (Matless 1996). The key
Broadland organisation here is the Norfolk Naturalists Trust (NNT), founded in
1926, and the most prominent written product is the New Naturalist volume on
The Broads, published in 1965 under the editorship of Ted Ellis (1965).
This culture of nature presumes a different authority to that of Day and
company. As R.H. Mottram (1952:235) expressed it in his The Broads, from this
perspective the three alternatives for 'the future of the Broads' were 'National Park,
Private Reserve or Commercial Exploitation', and the former was preferred. This is
a long way from Day's sense of the national park as remote bureaucracy, and while
shooting is not necessarily opposed here, and the national park is indeed put
forward in part as a public adaptation of the estate ethos, there are key departures
from Day's version of animal—human. The sense of visceral connection through
killing is not evident, and new naturalist cultural authority rests on a very different
form of expertise to that of the modern shooter. Day typically had no doubt about
his distinction from this other version of animal—human. In The Modern Fowler,
discussing Scolt Head on the north Norfolk coast, a key site for new naturalist study
through the work of, among others, geographer J.A.Steers, he considered bird-
Today the Head is the annual summer rendezvous of a great many earnest
people in spectacles who appear to derive infinite joy from watching its
shelduck, terns and ringed plover at their connubial business. In winter it is
more interesting…. Then, snow and gales and bitter cold conspire to keep the
fine-weather naturalists safely tucked away among their text-books.
(Day 1949b:87)
Day (1951:7) contrasted the outlook of the sporting naturalist to the 'vulgar
attentions' given by bird-watchers; the latter become nature-trippers in their lack of
deep connection to animals, place or weather.
Day typically overdid it. Setting up a choice of either visceral animal—human
connection or dry, bookish detachment served to isolate him at a time when a new
naturalism fitting into neither category was gaining momentum through a different
kind of bodily engagement with the region. A visceral sense of connection to the
blood and flesh of the animal may have been absent from this new naturalism, but
this new expertise was less dry and detached than damp, gathered not just from the
lab and library but through keeping expert eco-canny weather eyes and ears to the
field, as well as talking with the same locals highlighted by Day for their half-human
qualities. As in Day's work, there arises a clear sense of how not to conduct oneself
in nature, but from this perspective the errant tripper is not to be expelled from the
place as alien scum but re-embedded into local ecology through education.
Naturalist and audience here gain a different relationship, linked to a sense of the
expert not as remote, impersonal and apart from the local scene but grounded,
individual and of necessity a touch eccentric. The new naturalist explores nature by
Search WWH ::

Custom Search