Re-Examining Naturalists

By: Justin Luong

chart describing naturalists of old and new

Younger and underrepresented minorities often feel barriers to self-identifying as a naturalist due to conventional or traditional stereotypes of what they believe a naturalist to be. These generalizations often occur because people may often not see diverse groups of naturalists as role models. More often they see naturalists presented in popular media or documentaries which often tend to be older men with a very classic “naturalist” or “explorer” look with specialized gear or clothing, which is often expensive. In recent times, naturalists are also often thought of as experts in a particular taxonomic group, however, this does not need to be true. Attempting to view nature as separate from humans also can create barriers, especially for lower income naturalists which often do not have access to “wild” open space.