Mason Gross Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ. April 2007.

An Essay From the Field

As I am sure most people are aware, there has been a rise in environmental concern lately, as the human population is growing at an alarming rate and making unsustainable demands on natural resources. My entering into this general field of study and having the resources available to examine the outdoor environment could not have come at a better time and is currently of utmost importance. As a young professional, my recent joining into the area of the ecological sciences allows me to explore the world around and create a dialog available to those not able to do research themselves. I wish to make all of my findings and writings available to the public as they develop, in order to promote the free flowing of information at this critical time.

Primarily, the area of study I am interested in is the local region’s flora and fauna. My collection of species is comprised solely from specimens found in this province, whether indigenous or invasive. My research has taken me to the far reaches of the globe, yet my heart lies at home. In addition, I choose to collect exclusively from the local region because a comprehensive examination of wildlife beyond that would not be possible. One human alone could not go beyond these boundaries within a normal lifespan, as the workload already requires more hours than can be found in each day.

The reason I was attracted to starting a collection stems from my concern for the natural resources we as humans have available. While over the past five decades or so, awareness of water and air quality have been on the rise towards improvement, these resources are far from the pristine state they once were in. Many of our lakes, streams and rivers currently stand undesirable for swimming and untouchable for drinking. The impacts these pollutants have on human populations are just beginning to be understood, The regional animal population, however, tends to be disregarded entirely in urban and suburban settings. Inhabitants generally feel disconnected and disinterested in the natural world which they seldom interact with directly. Because of this detachment, studies are rarely stimulated by community interest.

With that said, I wish to delve into a more interesting topic, and the one that concerns me most. When comparing the published writings of my classroom work to my own field studies, I have come across major discrepancies between my findings and the research of my colleagues before me. There is no immediate rational available to decode these differences, as it seems my colleagues have conducted comprehensive and completely thorough research on the same subjects as I have been analyzing. It is beyond my understanding why our findings must be so different.

I have found that in my field studies only a few of the most unusual species I have unearthed have yet received any mention in any text I can lay my hand on. While a select number of the uncommon varieties have registered a brief mention in an old book here or there, most have gone unnoticed. This caused me to wonder if there was a lack of attention by researchers or a mass development of new species through mutations and hybridizations. This is a question I will continually be plagued by until I can ascertain the truth.

For now, my task will be to collect and catalog the regional species which have yet to be named. I am beginning the process of careful analysis of the entries. The locations and essential features of these species will be noted and kept on record until I can join with other biology specialists to determine their exact identity.

I gave a talk.