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America's Nature Essayists pre-Conservation Movement

Nature essays are poetry in natural language. Evocative of beauty and observation, nature essays are nuggets of inspiration and wonder that connect us to our natural heritage of earth and sky.

When writing my own nature essays, I draw on the inspiration shared by these early observers of nearby nature -- the mysteries, the realities, the wonder and the beauty that is missing in the manmade world. The Creator's artistry in diversity and processes is awe-inspiring when we give the living palette a chance to wash over our senses.

The golden age of nature essays was 1850- 1920, a time when nature essay writing was a significant genre that flourished in the United States. This genre contributed much to th cultural climate from which the American conservation movement developed. Accoding to the Library of Congress, related themes that fed into the conservation movement are "Scenic and Wilderness Travel", "Popular Ornithology -- or Bird watching", and "Juvenile nature literature and nature pedagogy"

Nature essays are the foundation of the conservation movement.

Some of the most accomplished nature essayists include:

Charles Abbott

Clear skies and cloudy, 1899
The Freedom of the fields, 1898
Recent rambles; or, In touch with nature
Upland and meadow: A Poaetquissings chronicle
The ramblings of an idler
John Coleman Adams Nature studies in Berkshire, 1899 John Burroughs Birds and bees and other studies in nature, 1896
A bunch of herbs and other papers, 1896
Field and study, 1919
Fresh fields, 1885
Locusts and wild honey, 1879
Nature near home and other papers, 1919
The summit of the years, 1913
Uner the apple-trees, 1916
Ways of nature, 1905
The wit of a duck and other papers, 1913
A year in the fields, 1896
Francis E. Clark The gospel of out of doors, 1920 Susan Fenimore Cooper Rural hours, 1850 William Gray Camp-fire musings: life and good times in the woods Thomas Wentworth Higginson The procession of the flowers, and kindred papers James B. Kenyon Remembered days Stanton Davis Kirkham East and west: comparative studies of nature in eastern and western states
In the open: intimate studies and appreciations of nature
Horace Lunt As the wild bee hums
Short cuts and by-paths
Winthrop Packard Wild pastures
Wildwood ways
Wood wanderings
Woodland paths
William A. Quayle In god's out-of-doors
The prairie and the sea
Dallas Loe Sharp The face of the fields
Where rolls the Oregon
Wild life near home
Charles M. Skinner Nature in a city yard Henry D. Thoreau Walden; or life in the woods, 1854
A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, 1868
Henry D. Thoreau, John Burroughs, John Muir, Bradford torrey, Dallas Lore Sharp and Olive Thorne Miller In American fields and forests, 1909 Bradford Torrey The clerk of the woods, 1903
The foot-path way
Nature's invitation: notes of a bird-gazer north and south
A rambler's lease
Spring notes from tennessee
A world of green hills: observations of nature and humannature in the Blue Ridge
Charles Wendell townsend, 1913 Sand dunes and salt marshes, 1913 Mabel Osgood Wright The friendship of nature: a New England chronicle of birds and flowers, 1894