3 Hours of Direct Observation Every Week
Every session, record:
- Beginning and end time of session
- Weather conditions (notice details about temperature, wind speed and direction, tide)
- Changes to habitat (notice tidal changes, moon phases, changes in vegetation, presence or absence of other animals, evidence of the presence of other animals…)
- Ways your own behavior may affect either the animal or your experience of the animal
- New details of animal appearance, animal behavior, habitat, or animal’s engagement with habitat and other animals (including you).
Close observation of animal activity:
- Describe behavior without ascribing meaning or intention.
- Describe the animal’s appearance (detailed narrative, not list):
- As you become more familiar with your animal, notice behavior and activity patterns.
- Consider using ethograms – written and visual – to develop a language specific to your inquiry.
Every session, conduct reflective writing. Consider and periodically revisit:
- Why did you select this animal?
- What were your preconceptions about it?
- What surprised you about this animal?
- What has surprised you about yourself?
- What are you learning?
- What do you wonder?
- What conclusions can you draw based on your observations?
Notice and record your relationship to the animal in its habitat.
What are you feeling physically?
What are you feeling emotionally?
What are you thinking?
How hard is it to stay focused?
Do you feel attached to the animal? Antagonistic? Afraid? What?
Have you become attached to this animal?
Do you seek its recognition?
Other details to include:
- Location address and/or physical description
- Ecology (riparian, boreal, alpine, desert, marine….)
- General characteristics (developed/undeveloped, managed/wild, dense/sparse human population, interior/exterior domestic, etc.)
- Specific characteristics (types of trees, presence of fresh/salt water)
- Other animals/species observed in habitat (including humans)