Nature Notes

Vol. III November 1, 1925 No. 12


Years ago Enos Mills instituted at his Longs Peak Inn what he termed a Nature Guide Service. Later the California Fish and Game Commission as a part of their educational program started a similar work at one of the popular outing centers on Lake Tahoe. Both these services met with instant favor as the people looked for ways and means of knowing the secrets of nature better.

During the season of 1920 the National Park Service realizing the value of such work started a free nature guide service in Yosemite intending to make the less known but equally interesting facts of nature accessible to the thousands of Park visitors and to better tell the story of the well known scenic features which have made the National Park famous.

As rapidly as funds will permit this very popular work is being extended to all the larger parks. This Park was the first to follow the lead of Yosemite and now the nature guide service has become one of our most extensively used services.

By means of popular illustrated lectures on natural history subjects, nature guide field trips in charge of a trained nature guide, small educational museums, nature bulletins and nature stories for the press, the Park visitors, past, present, and future, are taught to "read the trailside" and the more they learn of the fascinating stories of nature the more they want to know, and the better they know the Parks the better they enjoy them; and that of course is what these great National Playgrounds of ours were set aside for--for the enjoyment and profit of the people.

During the past season on Rainier some 80,000 people were reached more or less personally by means of this service. Nature Guide Field Trips scheduled every day to study the flowers, forest, animal life and geology of the region were attended by from 30 to 100 daily. Some 600 people on the average listened to lectures each evening by the Park Naturalists, thousands of people visited the museums and information offices and hundreds of thousands of people were reached in a less personal way through bulletins, newspapers and magazines.

Since there is very little Government money available for such work, it is likely that we will have to look toward cooperation on the pat of interested individuals and organizations if the work is to develop in any adequate way. This is particularly true in the case of much needed museum and library equipment. In fact the Service is prohibited by law from buying books and a reference library is a present one of our most pressing needs. Similar cooperation has built up a splendid museum and library in at least two of the other parks.

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