By Gerry Wykes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
|Hello, my name is Gerald Wykes and I am an Interpretive American. You can call me Gerry and you can call me a Naturalist if you like, but only if you read the following paragraphs.In the “old days” they exclusively called our kind “Naturalists.” We are the ones that wore wide brimmed hats and collected things into jars, pointed out tadpoles in a pond and imitated the call of the Barred Owl. We also talked alot about prehistoric Native American ways, settlers, old mills and farmsteads. Natural history and cultural history themes became seemlessly blended into each other, so we sought different titles to better describe what we do.|
We do more than just nature stuff, we don’t eat nuts and berries and don’t run around naked in the woods. Quite in opposition to the last statement, I wear long sleeves and long pants all year round. “Ranger,” “Guide,” and “Environmental Educator” are a few of the better names that have come up. “Kook,” “Touched” and “Different” are a few of the not so good ones.
Today the term “Interpreter” best describes my species and what we do. In my professional life, that is my title. I am, in fact, the Supervising Interpreter of the Lake Erie Marshlands Museum and Nature Center at Lake Erie Metropark. A definition of the term – the mantra by which we raise our palm and place our right hand over our heart is : “As an Interpreter we interpret the language of nature and the voices of history and put them into stories that are fun and easy to understand.” Now, I know that most folks will still need to be told that I am a Naturalist before they begin to understand why I am knee deep in a marsh without a foriegner in need of translation next to me. So, go ahead and call me a Naturalist. I am honored to be in the company of fellow naturalists such as John James Audubon, John Muir, and John Denver. O.K., John Denver was a singer, but his lyrics reflected a deep love of the natural world and so he qualified as an honorary naturalist.
It is the curse of a naturalist to be one ALL THE TIME. It is my work, but it is also my play – it is me. Professionally I have been in the field for 27 years, but realistically I can extend that interest back another quarter century (allowing a few years for teething and potty training). I am also a freelance author and artist, so I interpret nature and history through painting, drawing, writing, and even a little music.
My Naturespeak blog is a view of the world from a peculiar place – inside the mind of a naturalist/interpreter. By describing what an Interpreter does, I am warning you about the kind of things you can expect here. I’ll bring you insights into the big picture, the little picture and the offbeat with an emphasis on the natural world. I will strive to provide you with “stories that are fun and easy to understand” and look forward to exchanging comments with my readers.
Before I am accused of not really saying anything biographical here, let me state that I live here in Monroe with my beautiful wife Debbie. Our three children, Geoff, Jim & Katelyn are in different stages of flying the coop while attending three different colleges. Since my wife and I are both currently employed, I don’t believe I will be asking you for any money to help pay for their education. I will ask you, however, to learn a few things, laugh a few times and to gain a full appreciation of the natural world around you.