We are all naturalists at birth. Functioning in response to our instincts and nurtured by our parents, we are stimulated by our surroundings and nourished with the products of plants and animals that share our planet.
As we approach school age, however, human mysticism invades our world. Rather than retaining an intimate relationship with nature, we are taught that man is distinct from its realm, endowed by a divine creator with dominion over our planet and its many species. Our focus is directed toward human welfare which, we learn, includes protection from the dangerous wilderness that surrounds, threatens and may ultimately destroy our civilization.
Fortunately, as we achieve physical and intellectual independence, many of us reject human mysticism. We conclude that man is an integral part of nature and that the welfare of our species is directly tied to the health and diversity of natural ecosystems; we also realize that scientific progress is vital to understanding and fostering that relationship. In effect, we are born again naturalists.