About

The Short Story of the Blog

Me, an aspiring John Muir, irresponsibly hanging over the edge of a waterfall.

Hi- I’m Devon Bowker, ardent naturalist, sci-fi fanatic, science writer, and curator of geekery. I started The Wild Life in January of 2017 as a place to blog about natural history, earth science, biodiversity, extraordinary discoveries, and the amazing lives of this planets inhabitants. In time, the goal is for this project to become so much more with podcasts, original videos, humorous doodles, ID help, ‘We Save‘ sustainability challenges, and the TWL Hiking Club, bringing the natural world into the virtual world.

I invite you to stick around with me to explore, learn about, and discover the wonders, curiosities, and badassery of life on Earth. We’ve only got one life. Make it a wild one.

If you’re interested in hiring me for a naturalist program, guided hike, freelance writer, or if you’re interested in having me as a guest blogger, contact me at devonlbowker@gmail.com.

The Not So Short Story

There are 8.7 million species in the world, give or take 1.3 million, most of which are yet to be discovered. Broken down in easy to interpret chunks, three-quarters of those species live on land with the other quarter living in the water. I find that especially odd considering the water-land ratio of earth is pretty much the exact opposite. If we were to break that down a little bit more, we’d find that there are 7.8m species of animal, 298,000 species of plant, 611,000 species of mushrooms, mold and other fungi, around 36,400 species of protozoa and single-celled organisms, and 27,500 species of algae or chromists. Mammals, of which we are, only make up around 5,400 of that. At least that’s around how many have been recorded.

My point in all this is that if I were to try to write about 1 species a day, it would take me about 15 years just to get through the mammals alone. 15 years! But you know what? I’m going to do as much as I can.

To go camping, to go to museums, naturalist programs, state parks, college, all of these places, is a tremendous privilege. Certainly not one that everyone gets to enjoy. Money, time, geographic location, physical ability, you name it. Lots of things play a contributing role in what I call the ever-widening nature accessibility gap. My goal is to lessen that gap by bringing the natural world into the virtual world.

How?

Writing

I plan to be writing one or two blog post per week on the topics of natural history, earth science, biodiversity, extraordinary discoveries, and the amazing lives of this planets inhabitants. If you ever need help identifying something, you can submit it to the WTFF (What the flora or fauna?) section of this site and I’ll try to identify it and write-up a species profile on your find.

Podcast

There will be at least one new podcast episode per month (with special guests, of course) where we will aim to answer your questions, even the ones you didn’t realize you had, and tell the stories behind amazing discoveries and the fascinating people who make them. Apart from the main, official podcast, I will be hosting a spin-off series called Going Green as a companion series to the We Save sustainability challenges hosted by JouleBug, the free-social sustainability app. You can think of it as an audio-diary, cataloging my quest to live more sustain-ably. Episodes may feature special guest, and topics sit somewhere in the realm of behavioral psychology and sustainability.

The podcast is available on SoundCloud and iTunes

Video

I’ll be hosting Facebook Live Q&A’s every few weeks and posting videos to social media under the hashtag #RandomActOfNaturalism when I come across something I can’t resist talking about. You can think of the main web series as a naturalist program in video form, with titles like: Leave it to Beavers, Fungus Among Us, Twilight Zone, Busy Bees, and The Social Network of Trees. As time goes on, I would  like to do a mini-series I’m calling Myth-understood where I will debunk myths about some of earth’s most fable prone animals like bats, spiders, owls, and wolves.

The Wild Life is listener, reader, and viewer supported. If you believe in what I am doing, you can show your support by becoming a patron here.

My Story

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The family and I at the top of the fire tower at Itasca State Park

Growing up, my idols weren’t athletes and movie stars. They were scientists and naturalist like Steve Irwin, Jane Goodall, and David Attenborough. I had an obsession with taste testing plants around my bus stop and yard, with a surprisingly lucky streak; binders full of animal fact sheets; and an endless curiosity for the outdoors.

What should have been an obvious career choice alluded me until 2015, when Heather Millar and Kathy Gardener of Armand Bayou Nature Center took a chance on me, putting me in the role of an Outdoor Educator. I fell in love, found my passion, and suddenly realized that it had always been what I wanted to do with my life.

Since then, I have worked as a Park Ranger and Interpretive Naturalist, finished a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology, and have spent a lot of time honing my method and style as a naturalist.

I currently live in central Minnesota with my wife and son who is almost 18 months at the time that I write this. We spend a lot of time outdoors and at state parks hiking, taking pictures, birding, and enjoying the nature around us.

I am a member of The Wildlife Society, the American Society of Naturalists, and the Ecological Society of America.

I dream of a day when The Wild Life becomes more than something I do in whatever free time I can scrounge up, and instead becomes something more of a lifestyle. Something that I can do full-time, focusing my life on writing and teaching about the natural world. If you are reading this, I want to take this chance to say with the deepest, and sincerest gratitude, thank you for helping make that dream a reality.

The Wild Life is listener, reader, and viewer supported. If you believe in what I am doing, you can show your support by becoming a patron here.

 

 

 

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