Kamana One: Exploring Natural Mystery
Naturalist Training Program by Jon Young
Becoming a naturalist doesn't happen over night. It is a gradual process of waking up to the world around you. You learn about the plants and trees and insects and birds and rocks and animals, and you begin to see things in the world that other people do not notice. Your observations might not be major at first, just little things like, "Gee, that interesting. The deer have been eating the Agaricus mushrooms." The more of these little observations you make, the deeper your connection to the natural world becomes.
Through the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, Jon Young and the Wilderness Awareness School have created a step-by-step course that anyone can follow to achieve greater awareness of the natural world. Kamana One is an introductory program which takes about forty-eight hours of time over two weeks to complete. After finishing the assignments you can mail in a report to the Wilderness Awareness School, and if you desire, you may continue with advanced levels of Kamana. (My book Botany in a Day is used in Kamana Three.) Kamana seems to be designed at least partly to meet mainstream concepts of curriculum. In effect, this is a program that you might be able to implement with an entire class in high school, or you might do it on your own for college credit. In fact, the biggest objection to the program is that you might feel like you are back in school, completing homework assignments!
Kamana One includes a variety of awareness exercises, with an emphasis on learning to make detailed observations. You do not learn a lot of plants or birds, for example, but simply study a few in great detail, learning to memorize every feature until you can see it vividly in your minds eye. It is essentially the process of developing a "photographic memory". You will use this skill throughout your life to memorize plants, birds, tracks, maps, people's faces, even conversations. As you move through advanced levels of Kamana you learn to journal minute details about every day events, such as each time the wind shifts during the day, every change of the weather, the behavior of the birds and animals, your own moods, what insects are out and about. In short you develop a sort of hyper-awareness about the world around you.
While the benefits of such training are extremely profound, the process of learning it is not. The excercises in Kamana One are surprisingly simplistic, intended to help you break through the normal cloud of distractions to experience the world around you much more clearly. The Seeing Through Native Eyes cassettes are required resources used in conjunction with Kamana One
Remember: Learning the Language of the Birds is included in the Seeing Through Native Eyes series!
Also be sure to see these related pages:
Birding: Learn to Identify Birds and Interpret Bird Language
Awareness Books, Tapes, Resources and Perspective