Scientist, teacher, author, and champion of the natural world, Dr. Kenneth S. Norris reveals the insights gained over a lifetime devoted to learning and teaching about the natural world and human nature, and the global environmental crisis we've helped to bring upon ourselves.
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By Margaret Fusari
Sep 27, 2011
If you want to read something exceptional from the mind of a great teacher and scientist who really knew how to look at nature, then you should read this book. You will be entertained, amused, elevated and you might even learn something. You might be inspired to go out and look for yourself.
Kenneth Norris was a rare breed of teacher and scientist. He had wide ranging interests in the natural world, from lizards in New Mexico to whales and dolphins in the Pacific. He even studied a rare and probably now extinct Chinese river dolphin. He was a hard core scientist and made numerous discoveries in the world of whales and dolphins but his greatest love was teaching and inspiring young people to look at nature and get seriously interested in its true wonders. He saw the potential in students and brought it out, using the natural world as a path of inner discovery. This book was largely inspired by a course he started and taught for many years at UC Santa Cruz called "Field Quarter" where a bus load of students traveled around California to key natural areas where Ken would help them experience the wonders of California's diverse and rare environments. Students learned a huge amount from Ken on these trips, mainly because he taught them how to look at and understand... More > nature in a way that only a genius professional naturalist could. Field Quarter still exists though its peak days were days when Ken was in charge. Yet the teaching of science and natural history was only part of the Field Quarter experience. A large part was having fun in the process of learning and in developing respectful relationships and deep friendships. Whether it was keeping detailed notes or running as a group, completely naked over the edge of the Kelso Dunes, field quarter changed lives. This book was written by Ken in his last years. It was finished by a group of people who knew him very well since he did not complete it before his untimely death. This is a classic book, one that should be owned by anyone who went to UC Santa Cruz in the 1970s, or 1980s and anyone who has studied at the Long Marine Lab that Ken founded. People who work for the National Park Service as interpreters or people who do environmental education for children, or people who want to understand science or perhaps get great insights into field trips will find this book compelling. I hope it is widely read. You will not read another book like it, I promise.< Less
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