A Naturalist’s Desk


I recently changed locations as a Hub Naturalist within the Great Parks of Hamilton County. I cleaned out my old office and headed to my new one – same job, different park. The last naturalist to use my new office left behind some goodies for me to use as his replacement. This made me start to think how a naturalist’s desk is similar, yet very different, from most office spaces.

I was left files about schools and groups that use the center.
I was left files on animal poop and dragonflies.
I was left leadership and Microsoft Office books.
I was left with books to identify reptiles, fish and birds of our area.

As I continue to find jars of miscellaneous insects and vials of things that I’m not even sure what’s in them, I laugh. I smile because these random items left behind are just additions to my bald eagle made of Legos, a plastic frog that hops around the room and bubble wrap I plan to turn into frog eggs.

Yes, I do have pictures of my family, schedules on the wall and jar of pens and scissors. But how many other people have a box of trash bags cut into human size bat wings and a plastic witch’s caldron containing eye of newt, squish of gopher and toe of frog? I also have a rolled up snake skin I proudly took off the snake myself, pieces of turtle shell and a bag of tootsie pops to make into spider craft.

The majority of my strange items are used during educational programs for kids and adults. A plastic hopping frog allows preschoolers to see an action to try and mimic. Trash bags can be used to show children or adults the wing structure of our local bats. My bald eagle Legos will even get the attention of that tween that can’t find anything in nature to relate to.

You can learn a lot about someone by the items in their work space. Either I’m a kid at heart or I love teaching people about nature. My guess is it’s probably both!

Julie Robinson, Hub Naturalist