When I was younger, some of my most cherished memories were when my mom and dad would take me on adventures outdoors. They would leave me to explore and once we would arrive at home I would sit and watch my father create a magnificent piece of art that was inspired by what he had seen on our trips to the park, the Ancient Forest, or even in our backyard. He would take a photograph of a nature scene and then recreate it in the form of a painting. I often wonder how he can take a photograph of a group of shrubs and then turn it into a vibrant detailed work of art.

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Art by Dr. Rahul Hampole

Since being a young child, there have been many distractions such as television and cell phones that have caught my attention and have turned me away from observing nature. Starting the Natural History, Technology and Society class at UNBC, has helped me regain my urge for adventure and has also taught me the importance of art in Natural History and how past historians, physicians, and naturalists such as Maria Sibyl Merian would use her observations and creations of art to make new discoveries.

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Image by Shyla Hampole

On Wednesday September the 14th, the class took a bus ride to the Eliza Lake research Forest where we took the time to observe, listen and learn. While at the forest, I was astonished at how much I had seen. Often, I would not notice the different types of trees, Fungi and plants. I took the time to take pictures of every flower I saw and even watched a bee pollinate one of the flowers. Once we were finished observing, I looked at my classmate’s photographs and drawings. I found it interesting how their descriptions and images were so different in comparison to mine even though we were at the same forest.  This helped me come to the realization that we all view nature, art and even the world around us in different ways; and that it is important that we all acknowledge one another’s ideas and opinions.

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Image by Shyla Hampole

Overall, the trip to the Eliza Lake research Forest enriched me not only about nature itself but how we view the world and our surroundings. Watching my father paint an image that I had seen in a different way, and looking at the way my classmates described their drawings and images showed me that we all look at the world through a different lens.