Are They Nature?


I don’t remember in childhood the very defining moment when my love of nature began, but it might have been when I saw an animal or plant of vivid color. With childlike amazement I still feel that way. Something of such intense hue though, you might question if it is natural. But as a kid everything is real, even things that aren’t.

When you see an animal or bird confined to a zoo, you might ask if it is nature?  Zoos are such a hot button issue with some thinking them pitiful prisons for the confined animals. Others look at them as places to conserve animals on the verge of extinction, and others look at zoos to educate our youth. But the fact remains, they are a poor substitute for nature.



We play with nature hybridizing all kinds of new plant colors and combinations. We mix genes of different organisms to create better and long-lasting food products with genetic engineering (GMO). Science manually adds new DNA to an organism. Mostly done with plants, it affects animals being fed genetically modified corn and soy. It effects the offspring and is now shown or at least highly suspected to produce adverse physical deformities and ailments in animals eating this monoculture diet. Food products are drenched in glyphosate. How about the cats that glow in the dark? Child-like amazement or mad science?


When you see a bird in a park, you might ask is it nature? Are these spaces habitat for a variety of birds, animals, insects, or other organisms or is their benefit the corridors and greenways to link natural habitats? Is their real benefit more for people? After all urban green spaces foster a connection between community residents and the natural environment that surrounds them. Natural areas promote livability and vitality in communities with recreational opportunities, good air, improved water quality and scenic beauty. And you find lots of people in them, not the peace and quiet animals prefer.


What about manmade ponds, are they nature? Almost every time they are added for recreational activity or aesthetic  benefit to a property. The wildlife that comes is a perk.



Or a butterfly in a conservatory, is it nature? Like zoos, these creatures are for our entertainment, not necessarily that of the insect. They live in intriguing natural settings and the conservatory showcases the colorful appeal of the flowers and insects. Does this aesthetic result in a greater awareness of the environment or a better understanding of our role in preserving natural habitats? They promote them in this manner. I never felt environmentally responsible in an enclosed structure housing insects from all parts of the world. It is surreal to think this is nature in the natural sense of the word.


Nature seems to be inherently a creation without human intervention, but there is not much of that left in this world. Are we getting to the point where the defining line of nature is blurred? Is there so little nature that people actually access other than on a computer or TV screen? It seems from the standpoint of nature, we are getting priorities mixed.


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12 Responses to Are They Nature?

  1. milliontrees says:

    Difficult questions…..beautiful pictures.

  2. I really do agree with much of what you’re saying. Pure, untainted, unaffected nature probably doesn’t exist any place on the planet. I know I keep telling you this, but your pics and thoughts are great!!!😀

  3. Mike Powell says:

    Thought-provoking treatment of a complicated subject, which seems simple at first glance.

  4. I think parks count as a natural habitat for animals. They can come and go as they choose.

  5. Nature without human intervention… As years go by this is bound to be very rare, unfortunately.
    Have a beautiful Wednesday, Donna!! 🙂

  6. Pat says:

    Good food for thought. Photos are beautiful.

  7. For me not as hard on some topics…I do not like zoos or marine parks where we confine animals…there are better places that rehab animals to reintroduce them to nature….if we would stop what we keep doing we wouldn’t have to help animals that are almost extinct. I created our wildlife garden because it borders a forever green wild area that is protected by the DEC and cannot be altered…so we have fox, deer, rabbits, birds galore, woodchucks, you name it living there…so we provide native plants mostly so they have a spot to live (rabbits nest here), fox hunt here, deer browse, birds build nests etc…nature is behind me and I try to extend it a bit. We don’t spend tons of time in the garden so the animals can have tons of quiet time to themselves. It is our little window into nature without disrupting it.

  8. A.M.B. says:

    Great post, Donna. I don’t mind human efforts to augment nature, particularly if part of the goal is to correct what we’ve done to this planet (even if it’s just by educating the next generation). My concern is that such experimentation may have unforeseen consequences. So, we have to be very, very careful.

  9. bittster says:

    complicated topic. I like to think that nature will abound when undisturbed, but on the other hand nature will abound after a prescribed burn, a manmade pond, or within a fenced in military bombing range. I wish I had a better comment 😉

  10. Just recently I’ve come to believe there is no real distinction between humans and “nature”. We are of this Earth, just like all the other species are. That said, we humans can certainly screw our habitat up by thoughtlessly importing plants or animals that go out of control – or in many other ways, for that matter.

    As far as zoos go, I’m not a big fan at this point in my life, although I certainly think the work they’ve done in saving endangered species is to be commended. Instead of zoos and special “natural areas”, I would much rather see us encourage our parks and home landscapes to be full of native plants supporting native animals, then encouraging children (and adults) to get familiar with all the life that is just outside their front door. We won’t take care of what we don’t know about and value – and if we don’t take care of our habitat, we are doomed, as a species,… so we’d better start teaching ourselves about it!

  11. Sensational photos and I love your narrative – the questions you pose are very intriguing. I had never really thought about ‘natural’ areas in this way till I began going often to wetlands preserves in Florida…..interesting perspectives. Thanks for sharing!

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