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  • Christopher Russell

Have you tried a sitspot?

One of the best exercises for getting to know the ecosystem outside your door, no matter where you are, is picking one spot outside and sitting for a set period of time every day. You start to get to know the plants and animals that inhabit that space, and they start to get used to you as well. Through simply observing over a period of days and weeks, you start to interact with the natural world in a way that lets you see into the daily comings and goings of the spot you’ve chosen.

I have a spot under an oak by my house, and not only does watching the birds bouncing up and down the tree create questions in my mind that lead to a greater understanding of how birds of different species create a micro-ecosystem in one tree, but it created what I’d call personal relationships with some of the birds that showed up every day. Of all of those, my favorite has been a chickadee with a broken or otherwise permanently injured right leg. I watched it get creative with how it positioned itself on a branch in order to split a sunflower seed, and wait patiently for other birds to finish at the feeder so it could find a spot that was easiest for it to perch on. Having those experiences builds understanding and respect for the nature world, and makes us better naturalists, and members of the ecosystem we inhabit.



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