Wandering And Wondering In Our Native Landscape with Kate Marianchild

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For many years Marianchild has been deeply involved in observing and studying the flora and fauna of her local landscape. She’s trained herself as an amateur naturalist watching wildlife, leading nature walks, and giving slide presentations. Here she shares the delight that comes from walking slowly or sitting quietly in nature, and describes how we can each become a citizen scientist. When asked how we might go about discovering our local eco-system she says, “If there’s something that you already love and enjoy about [the land where you live] but don’t know anything about it, ask yourself some questions and then try to answer them either through observation or research. And, another approach would be to set yourself a goal of learning to identify (say, to start out with) ten species that are native to your area and learn at least two or three web-of-life facts about them. If it is a plant, you ask yourself such questions as, ‘I wonder who depends on this plant for food? I wonder how this plant is pollinated? I wonder who disperses its seeds?’ These would be three really great starter questions, and if you try to get the answers to them you’ll be amazed at what else you learn in the process.” Marianchild fills us with enthusiasm for going out into our own local habitat to start our first-hand observations and shares how exciting that can be. She also encourages us to join with others in our community to share our explorations. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Kate Marianchild is a “Citizen Scientist” who shares the delight that comes from walking slowly or sitting quietly in nature.

Kate Maranchild is the author of:

To learn more about the work of Kate Marianchild go to www.katemarianchild.com.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How having Lyme disease forced Marianchild to slow down enough to start to develop an interest in the birds that surrounded her home
  • What she learned about acorn woodpeckers
  • How the western scrub jay has demonstrated its intelligence and uses deceptive actions
  • Why we need to get beyond reading about nature and go out for first-hand observation
  • Why the titmouse is considered the voice and soul of the Oak Woodlands
  • Why newts don’t need to be fast on their feet
  • How to start your exploration to discover your local eco-system
  • What is the fascinating way that manzanita gets pollenated
  • What is a keystone species, and what is its impact on the environment
  • How squirrels are shapers and architects of the landscape, and some of their amazing strategies against predators
  • What was the strategy that wasps developed in order to enjoy a meal of ants
  • What is the importance of ants in our eco-systems
  • How Marianchild befriended a poison oak bush
  • What is the fascinating life of a woodrat like
  • How to participate in the Christmas bird count

Host: Justine Willis Toms         Interview Date: 2/23/2017         Program Number: 3608

Music Playlist

Album: Paul Winter Greatest Hits (Bonus CD)
Artist: Paul Winter
1998 Living Music #01048081503-2 

Opening Essay: Track 10 River Run
Music Break 1: Track 08 Gates of the Mountains
Music Break 2: Track 10 River Run (reprise)
Music Break 3: Track 15 Fare Well