On a more serious note, our survival and our health depend on maintaining a
healthy environment and being aware enough about our environment to
recognize when it is unhealthy. Pollution of our air, water, and food is a very real
threat to our health and the existence of our civilization.
Being aware of nature helps us remove ourselves from the stress of day to day
life. Taking the time to stop and watch the birds and the deer, helps us to be
more centered and in tune with ourselves. Getting outdoors for at least a half an
hour a day can give us the sunshine we need for vitamin D synthesis, which our
modern indoor existence deprives most of us. Being in tune with nature and our
surroundings can provide the tools to prevent additional environmental damage,
to reverse the damage already done, and to be aware of new threats before it is
too late. Nature provides the proverbial "canary in the coal mine" in the form of
fish, salamanders and frogs, birds, etcetera.
Nature provides us the tools to adapt to changes. If global warming and the
resulting climate change turns out to be as earth altering as some believe it will,
our survival may depend on the knowledge to quickly change our food staples
and agricultural practices. Alternative farming practices and knowledge of edible
wild plants may someday allow us to avert a famine. Many of the "weeds" may
provide alternative agricultural crops if, for some reason we find ourselves
unable to grow or use some of our staples, such as corn, wheat, potatoes, and
Pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, toxic and carcinogenic chemical products
and by-products of our consumptive lifestyle have well documented negative
health effects on all animals, including human animals. We must achieve a
sustainable lifestyle that allows us to live long healthy lives while providing for
our own future and for future generations.
With modern tools we can revisit historical medical practices. In the past,
medical practitioners relied on herbal remedies. Many of these have proven to
be beneficial and many botanically derived chemicals have been synthesized for
pharmaceutical use. A lot more work is needed in this area, and, more
importantly, in the use of actual herbs, rather than synthetic compounds in the
treatment and prevention of disease. We now have the tools to monitor body
chemistry and disease symptoms that ancient medical practitioners could not.
By applying modern medical technology we have tools to elucidate the
mechanisms by which herbal remedies prevent and cure disease, allowing us to
use these more effectively and more appropriately.
I hope you find this web site informative and
useful. My goal is to share some of my
experiences with the rest of the world and to
learn from the experiences of others. My
favorite pastime is being out in the field,
seeing nature in action. Posting pictures and
short descriptions is a convenient way to keep
records and provides an alternative to the
stuffed animals and pressed plants of the
more traditional brick and mortar natural
I am not attempting to illustrate or describe
every living thing in the Baltimore-Washington
area, just to provide a sample to enrich the
reader's enjoyment and understanding of our
area's Natural History.
I am not a Naturalist by profession, but Natural History has been my life long interest.
This site is how I share my interest and my experiences with the rest of the world.
In addition to countless hours of hiking, exploring, studying, and observing nature on
my own, I have been active with a number of Baltimore-Washington Area groups over
the years, attending lectures and meetings, volunteering, participating in hikes, etc.
The places I have been actively involved over the years include:
- Cylburn Museum
- Maryland Ornithological Society
- Audubon Naturalist Society
- Baltimore Zoo
- National Aquarium in Baltimore
- Bragg Nature Center
- Carrie Murray Outdoor Education Center
- Oregon Ridge Nature Center
I have Bachelor's degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and in Medical
Technology, and I have a Master's degree in electrical engineering. I worked for many
years in academic, research and clinical testing laboratories in the fields of chemistry,
biochemistry, and molecular genetics. I am now a Systems Engineer, providing
communications system design, planning and specification for cellular, wireless,
microwave, fiber-optic, leased T-1 network, and satellite communications.
But of course my favorite subject, my passion, is the study of Natural History.
When I am not at work, I am studying natural history, hiking, and taking pictures or I
am practicing my other passion, Shaolin Kung Fu.
|THE METROPOLITAN NATURALIST
My always enthusiastic and
curious hiking partner,
Scotch Dog. She was a
Shepherd mix who was
always full of energy and
always ready to go for a
Scotch is gone but not
April, 1992 - January 25, 2008
May 21, 1989.
Jazz never was a very good
hiking partner, but she
loved the outdoors
nonetheless. Now that she
is old and blind, she prefers
to lay inside and enjoy the
sun streaming through an
open door or window.
Jazz passed away on March
9, 2009 at the age of 19.
We brought Haley home
from the Rescue on August
22, 2008. She is a
wonderful energetic and
playful Yellow Lab who
accompanies us on hikes
around town and has
traveled with us on
numerous trips exploring
the East Coast and the