Seton Watching? What's that?
“A knowledge of animals doubles the interest of an ordinary country ramble — and the more we learn their ways, the more glimpses we will likely get of them!” Ernest Thompson Seton
Seton Watching is an outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by a person of any age, any time, and anywhere. The idea is simple: find a comfortable place in nature and quietly sit for 5, 10, 30 minutes or more. Leave your electronic device off for the entire time and just soak in the world around you. Observe the living and undisturbed outdoors with your eyes, ears, nose, skin, mind, and heart. In doing so, you can not only make first-hand discoveries, but also benefit from the peace, calm, and solitude that nature offers. Numerous studies show that being in nature helps to de-stress our busy lives.
The Seton Watch is named for Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946). Although best known as one of the founders of the Boy Scouts in England and America and the Woodcraft League of America, Seton was also an author, illustrator, and naturalist. Born in England, Seton immigrated to Canada as a child and settled in the U.S. as an adult. Seton homesteaded a farm near Carberry, Manitoba and often explored the vast prairie for days or weeks at a time. By 1885, he had completed 1,000 mammal drawings for the Century Dictionary of the English Language. Seton studied art in Paris, had his first book published in England (The Art Anatomy of Animals), and became a painter. He then lived in New Mexico where he published books and articles for popular magazines. At 47 years of age, Seton completed a 2,000 mile canoe trip through northern Canada, making maps which are still considered accurate. Seton became a popular lecturer in the U.S. and Europe, published about 10,000 reports/articles, almost 400 magazine articles, and 60 books, and was appointed Official Naturalist to the government of Manitoba, Canada. Seton popularized nature writing for children and youth by imparting a love of nature, and telling stories through the eyes of the animals. Throughout his life, Seton was known to simply go outdoors, sit, observe, and enjoy nature’s happenings. He began recording his observations and sketches in journals at 19 years of age and maintained them daily for 67 years until two weeks before his death at age 86.
From The Great Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Lesson Plan