What is a Naturalist person? (A brief guide)

In this guide, we will discuss “What is a naturalist person”, what is naturalistic intelligence, naturalistic curiosity, what does a naturalist do, best-recommended careers for naturalists and additional things to consider when talking about naturalism.

What is a naturalist?

When answering ‘What is a naturalist person?’ we need to understand the concept of a naturalist. According to dictionary.com, a naturalist is “a person who studies or is an expert in natural history, especially a zoologist or botanist” but it could also be defined as “an adherent of naturalism in literature or art”. 

However, we could also find a more broadened definition of a naturalist in vocabulary.com:

“A biologist whose interest lies primarily in the study of plants or animals can be called a naturalist, although these days it’s more likely she’ll be called a natural historian, a botanist, or a zoologist. The noun naturalist comes from the Latin word Natura, “course of things, natural character, the universe,” or literally, “birth.” Be careful not to confuse naturalist with naturist, which is another word for a person who prefers to be naked — a nudist.”

In contrast, when talking about a naturalist in terms of personality types, we can find that naturalists seem to have a sensitivity or a higher appreciation for nature. According to Howard Gardner who proposed the theory of multiple intelligence, naturalist intelligence focuses on how people relate to their surroundings. They seem to have an affinity and interest in growing plants, vegetables or fruits and would enjoy being around animals. Because they seem to be good training and understanding them. 

Naturalistic Intelligence

Naturalistic intelligence requires an understanding of the patterns of living things and applying scientific reasoning to the world. Some people consider that nature intelligence is mostly applied or applicable to careers such as farmer, naturalist, animal behaviourist and scientist.

Great examples of people who are said to share a naturalistic intelligence are Temple Grandin, Jane Goodall and Charles Darwin

Naturalistic curiosity

Naturalists seem to find patterns in nature easier than other people and are intrigued by weather phenomena. They are curious so discovering things comes naturally and are fascinated by ‘wonders of nature’. They enjoy outdoor activities such as walking, climbing, camping, hiking, etc. and seem to be inspired by nature. 

If we were to break down the characteristics we could say they can:

  • Notice natural patterns
  • Learn through contact with their surroundings (nature)
  • Become very sensitive about pollution
  • Enjoy having pets since they love animals
  • Become very good at gardening
  • Appreciate nature and scenic views
  • Become inspired by nature
  • Be very aware of climate or weather changes
  • Feel especially alive when they are in contact with nature
  • Notice nature above other things

What Does a Naturalist Do?

When we think about naturalists the first thing that may probably come to mind is a picture of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution. Additionally, concepts like natural selection, genetics, living organisms, among others, can cross your mind in a matter of seconds. But we don’t often regard naturalism as one of the oldest philosophical approaches that remain relevant up until this day.

However, naturalists unlike Biology or the biological sciences are not really focused on genetics but are very interested in relationships of species within its environment, being more closely related to environmental biology. Moreover, according to environmentalscience.org:

“They will look for evolutionary markers to explain why a certain attribute may have been beneficial or what environmental conditions may have led to the rise of genetic diversity within a species. Their understanding is in ecology, natural selection, sexual selection and environmental forcings.”

Best careers for naturalists

  • Animal Trainer
  • Breeder
  • Farmer
  • Park Ranger
  • Geologist
  • Horticulturist
  • Landscaper
  • Marine Biologist
  • Veterinarian
  • Arborist

Where does a Naturalist work?

Many people believe that Naturalists have a 50/50 type of work. For instance, 50% of the time is dedicated to academic study and the other 50% is applied science. Many naturalists could end up working for the Government in state parks and areas of conservation. Additionally, they could also get employed monitoring in public health.

Naturalists are mostly required to have strong and specialized knowledge in biology, chemistry, ecology, geography and even mathematics. At the beginning of their career, naturalists may find themselves doing tasks such as:

  • Having to observe plants and animals in their habitats. They may be required to assess the effect of industry on their environment and record their findings.
  • Inventory on certain plants and wildlife population.
  • Experimental studies on natural surroundings.
  • Collecting data and informing about the findings by written reports, papers or journals.
  • Collection of samples to be analyzed later on.

In contrast, someone with more experience could spend their days in the lab or an office analyzing the collected data from others. As indicated by environmentalscience.org, their job may include:

  • Providing analysis of field notes or data collected by junior naturalists
  • Make recommendations for preservation or conservation of natural resources and plant and animal life based on the findings of the study
  • Inform and respond to the public regarding wildlife and conservation issues, such as plant identification and nuisance wildlife

Do I need a degree to become a naturalist?

If you like to appreciate everything nature has to offer, enjoy exploring and defending environmental rights then there is no need to have a degree. However, if you would like to have a scientific approach and work for an institution then you may be required to have a degree where you have a vast knowledge of biology, chemistry, evolutionary science, math and geography.

Some of the most common examples are biology and biological sciences, wildlife management, environmental biology and even forestry. However, other degrees may be considered such as those that blend life sciences with geoscience. 

For most entry-level jobs, it is expected to have a master’s degree especially in the fields of biology and biological sciences. For jobs related to government bodies, a doctorate would be very useful in some cases.

Naturalism in Philosophy

As indicated by Britannica “Naturalism presumes that nature is in principle completely knowable. There is in nature a regularity, unity, and wholeness that implies objective laws, without which the pursuit of scientific knowledge would be absurd. Man’s endless search for concrete proofs of his beliefs is seen as a confirmation of naturalistic methodology.”

Moreover, it indicates that “Naturalists point out that even when one scientific theory is abandoned in favour of another, man does not despair of knowing nature, nor does he repudiate the “natural method” in his search for truth. Theories change; methodology does not.”

Why is this blog about What is a naturalist person important?

As we have discussed, naturalism has influenced not only art or literature but also philosophy. Some people who consider themselves as naturalists may have studied a degree for it. You could relate to the definition as being an expert in natural history, botany or zoology, while others consider it a lifestyle. This will depend on the meaning and associations with the concept of ‘Naturalism’. 

Also, some people have what Gardner naturalistic intelligence where they have a better understanding of the patterns of living things and tend to apply scientific reasoning to the world. You could have already thought for a while that you may be a naturalist but with the information, we have gathered on ‘What is a naturalist person?’ you can have a better understanding and approach to know if you could consider yourself as a naturalist or not.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about What is a naturalist person

What does a naturalist believe?

A Naturalist from a philosophical point of view believes that all beings and events in the universe are natural and can be explained by the laws of nature. Consequently, the knowledge of the universe or what we get to know is possible through the scientific method. However. This is only referring to philosophy. There are other contexts such as art and literature where you could find ‘naturalists’ but with a different connotation.

What does it take to be a naturalist?

To be an informed park Naturalist, it is important to know the principles of natural history. Most of the position will require a bachelor’s degree in environmental education or wildlife biology, including coursework, not limited to, environmental science, earth science or ecology. Others believe they are naturalists even if they don’t officially possess a title to prove it but empirically speaking have learned a lot about natura, wildlife, etc.

What are examples of naturalism?

If you would like examples of the Naturalism doctrine in literature, we recommend reading:

– The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

– The Open Boat by Stephen Crane.

– The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

– To Build A Fire by Jack London.

What’s a naturalist scientist?

We could define a Naturalist scientist as the type of biologist who studies the impact of living species on other species and the environments where they live. However, some might say that being a naturalist involves being a scientist but doesn’t necessarily work the other way around. Naturalists may argue that the only way to know the world around us is through a scientific approach.

Does naturalism believe in God?

Naturalists believe that there is only the natural world so there is no place for supernatural phenomena, spirits, deities or anything else considered non-physical. Since God can’t be measured or studied by the scientific method then it must not exist. However, poetic naturalism emphasizes that there are many ways of talking about the natural world.

References 

Dictionary.com: “Naturalist”

Vocabulary.com: “Naturalist”

Personalitymax.com: “Naturalist Intelligence”

Britannica.com: “Naturalism”

Environmentalscience.org: “What Is a Naturalist?”

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.