What is Natural History

Natural history is the study, observation and description of organisms and natural objects. It has been, and always will be, central to our understanding, appreciating and conserving the natural heritage of our world.

Naturalists value the exquisite beautiful of all organisms and natural objects in equal measure, regardless of size or quantity. The intricate lifestory of single microscopic, protozoan is as astounding as the mass migration of a thousand wildebeest across the plains of Africa. It is this innate, raw, unrestrained, uncontrollable passion for the natural world that unites naturalists of all countries, all ethnicities, all ages and even all centuries.

Natural History has been a part of human nature since ancient times, but the 19th century marked the discipline’s heyday, fuelled by the discoveries of explorers, zoologists, botanists, geographers and geologists. Victorian societies were gripped by a passion for understanding the natural world and collecting specimens. Vast natural history museums were constructed, often with extensive collections of preserved specimens. And zoological parks, botanic gardens, herbaria and natural history societies proliferated, along with new understanding of taxonomy and classification.

Today, much of the energy spent in documenting the natural world has shifted to sensationalism and the violence of animals. Switch on your television, and you are most likely to find programmes concerned with large predators killing prey and dangerous animals portrayed as threats to mankind. While sensationalism offers the benefit of attracting the attention of a broad audience that otherwise might not be exposed to the natural world at all, it oversimplifies the true complexity, beauty and diversity of the natural world and causes less dramatic, but equally interesting components of the natural world to be ignored.

Studying, observing and appreciating nature in the true meaning of natural history is needed now more so than ever before. The rate by which we are destroying and impacting the natural world is at an all time high, yet even the process of cataloguing the species and natural wonders of our planet is far from complete, or only beginning according to some.

Redfern Natural History Productions was founded to uphold the old values of values of natural history. All of our products are designed to facilitate the study, observation and description of the natural world, and share the beauty and diversity of the planet’s natural heritage with 21st century naturalists to further understanding and inspire protection and preservation.

Never has appreciating the natural world been so important.

 

1

The Natural History Museum, London

 

2

19th Century illustrations of moths