Category Archives: Personal

Patreon Update #3

Photo of Chicory

Dear Readers,

I'm honored that you make space in your day to read my blog. I'm also grateful to everyone who has supported me by responding to my writings with friendly comments, personal stories, quiz guesses, nature questions, and mystery photos -- keep them coming! My hope is that in paying attention to my work, you'll be inspired to get outside and discover the mysteries right outside your door.

If you've benefited from my sharing my words and photographs, or if you've enjoyed attending my walks and workshops, you might like to know that there is another way to offer your support. By contributing $1 or more per month on Patreon, you can help to ensure that I can continue to do my work of connecting people with the natural world. Sixteen awesome people have stepped up to become patrons so far, and today I ask:

Would you kindly consider joining my community of supporters by becoming a patron?

In addition to exclusive access to 15 (and counting) bonus nature quizzes, patrons are also eligible to receive handmade photo cards as a thank you. You can learn more about Patreon and see all of the available rewards by visiting my Patreon page.


Discover the mysteries just outside your door

Photo of Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon (aka Rock Dove)

Flipping through some of my files earlier this month, I came across a piece I wrote for a newspaper almost 12 years ago. The following letter appeared on the Opinion page of the December 24, 2005 edition of The Sun Chronicle (Attleboro, MA):

Discover the mysteries just outside your door

To the editor:

After graduating from college last year, I couldn't tell you the difference between a white or red oak. I had no idea what birds lived near my home, aside from the "seagulls" and "pigeons" (which I now know as ring-billed gulls and rocks doves). And I didn't know there were wild turkeys and coyotes living nearby.

In those days I considered myself an environmentalist. I knew about toxins and teratogens. I knew that "recycled" computers were often dumped on Asian countries where they poisoned the land and people.

I knew about (and lobbied to help address) the realities of environmental racism in poor neighborhoods.

Yet, my knowledge was hardly complete.

I can't speak for your schooling experience, but mine was lacking in the local. It's taken me a year to learn some of the most basic knowledge about the non-human communities around me -- knowledge that should be (and not long ago was) common sense.

Now I can identify most native trees, I can recognize a dozen birds by their song alone, and I pay attention to the tracks and signs left by elusive animals.

Since graduating, I find studying nature to be my most meaningful pastime. Every day I notice something different, uncover a new mystery in my backyard.

Flipping through field guides (or, better yet, spending time with a naturalist) and walking in a forest or along a stream should be part of every child's upbringing.

If we desire to live responsibly on the earth, we must start by knowing and appreciating the little part we can see.

Parents especially must provide these opportunities for their children, for the generations to come.

Joshua M. Fecteau

Late Spring Blogging Schedule

Photo of Prairie Warbler

I've decided to modify my blog posting schedule for the remainder of spring in order to focus my efforts on birding, foraging, and teaching birding and foraging. I'll continue to publish my weekly Nature Notes, but don't expect regular posts on Wednesdays and Fridays until mid-June.

If you need some inspiration in the meantime, check out my New England Wild Edibles Monthly Guide, or browse my blog's complete index which includes 34 Life List Bird Games and 175 Nature Quizzes. Also, consider attending one of my upcoming walks or talks or hiring me for a private birding outing or foraging lesson!

Enjoy Spring!

Patreon Update #2

Almost 6 months ago, I launched my Patreon campaign and asked readers to pledge financial contributions to support my walks, workshops, and blogging efforts. Since then, a group of generous supporters have given a total of $296!

Patreon logo

If you haven't pledged an amount on Patreon, please consider committing even $1 a month. All patrons receive access to bonus nature quizzes, and contributors of $3 or more per month are eligible for additional rewards in the form of handmade photo cards.

2017: Naturalist Goals

Photo of Snow Goose
Snow Goose | Rockland, ME | 3 Jan 2017

Here are my naturalist goals for the next turn of the seasons. I plan to...

...explore each of the following locations in northern York County, at least once per season:

California Fields Wildlife Area in Hollis
Sawyer Mountain Highlands in Limerick/Limington
Waterboro Barrens Preserve in Waterboro/Shapleigh

...obtain equipment (field recorder and microphone, for starters) to record and share high quality sound recordings of birds, insects, ocean, etc.

...photograph at least 2 of the 5 birds who I've seen but not yet photographed (Dovekie, Tundra Swan, Prothonotary Warbler, Purple Gallinule, and Northern Bobwhite).

...complete 3 or more Moon Challenges.

...consume a diversity of wild foods by focusing on a different plant, seaweed, fish, shellfish, insect, mushroom, or mammal, each week of the year.

...hike 10+ miles along the Appalachian Trail in Maine.

...and continue to publish my weekly Nature Notes, but on Mondays (instead of Wednesdays), and with a new format; each post will feature one photo (and perhaps an audio clip), three phenology notes, my wild edible of the week report (see above goal), moon challenge updates (when applicable), and finally a nature challenge of the week (for you, the reader).