That’s right: the internet and smart phone conquered everything in its sights — toppling towering institutions great and small and causing previous untouchable traditions to go extinct (e.g. “paper” newspaper reading, the yellow pages, books, handwritten letters, and too many hobbies to count), to the point it has us all scratching our heads on how we managed without the internet and smart phone at all — with the exception of one giant category that to this day the Tech Titans cannot touch: The sense of smell!
And thank God. Smell is doing as good as ever and maybe better than ever before thanks to its inability to be digitally recreated or imitated or faked. Until now: Find out from Nose (above) about his plan to capture his fair share of the internet pie.
“Nobody knows you’re a dog on the internet” – Peter Steiner from The New Yorker, 1993
Side note: Do you remember the old Peter Steiner’s cartoon in the New Yorker, which if you can believe it dates back to 1993. Well, the corollary is this: If dogs actually invented the internet, it would be smell (not sight) based. Just a theory.
What exactly is Nature Folk HQ? Well, for one, it’s the place I’m standing, by the campfire, roasting a marshmallow. But more than a place it’s a state of mind where we try not to talk about it (that much), we just do it.
In fact, we believe our action-based approach is the secret to our success. And it’s not just us. Here at Nature Folk HQ we know it takes a community to bring the Nature Folk Movement (NFM) to life.
Short list of some of our Nature Folksters (i.e. folk stars) and activities we support:
(1) Attend a Campfire Talk (at CampfirePark.Org)
Sick of the rat race? How about kicking back around the campfire to hear a campfire talk. The campfire is the place we gather to reconnect with nature and talk about what is essential in life. We think you’ll enjoy this modern-day reboot of the ancient tradition.
(2) Ride the Water Cycle (at GoHydrology.Org)
There’s no better way to get back in touch with nature than by tuning in with the water cycle. Whether it’s a recent shift in the skies or a new water flow pattern in the deep swamp, Go Hydrology is your passport into the innerworkings of the water cycle.
(3) Hear a Campfire Shanty (at BobbyAngel.Org)
Are you bored of “reading” about conservation topics? Well how about listening to a campfire shanty that explores the topic at a whole new level. Bobby Angel is a balladeer whose growing archive of songs and albums helped inspire the Nature Folk Movement (NFM).
(4) Rediscover your Bookshelf (at ReReadable.Org)
Over a decade after the invention of the smartphone, the bookshelf has been cast away on the dust heap like so much else. No longer. Rereadble resuscitates the old (and new) books on our bookshelf back to life, and ponders out loud what being rereadable is all about.
(5) Journey Back to Before Phones (BP) (at BeforePhones.Org)
Granted, it was a bizarre time, but believe it or not people once survived (even thrived) in the pre-phone era, also known as the Great Phonelessness. Join the researchers at Before Phones as they uncover the latest archeological finds about this cryptic historical period.
(6) Get into Good Penmanshape (at Penmanshape.Org)
Sick of “thumbing” everything you write? And let’s face it, using a keyboard may be writing, true – but it’s also keeping you in front of a screen. There’s no better workout for the hands and the mind than sitting down with a blank piece of paper and a killivine (that’s just a fancy word for a pen!)
The result? Good ideas from the middle and the bottom floor get ignored or side stepped. Another thing about Top Floor decision-making: It’s often out of step with what’s happening on the bottom floor, down on the street. And isn’t it always the same thing. Whether it’s Big Water, Big Government, Big Tech or a Mega Corp of any kind calling the shots, it’s the little guy on the outside always looking in, or looking up, trying to figure it out yet also always the one also paying the price. Case in point is the Smart Phone. It was sold to society with little concern what the payoffs may be. Convenience at a price, or fee, with no responsible assessment of what the long-term consequences might be, or what was lost with the giant shift. Okay, good, I’m glad I got that off my chest. That’s where the grassroots Nature Folk Movement (NFM) comes in. I’m not saying we’ll ever get the upper hand. But it’s good to be having a conversation around the campfire. That’s where a lot of good things get their start.
The Nature Folk Movement and the need for Nature Folk Inc was born organically and accidentally around a campfire at Collier County Museum in the heart of Naples, Florida at the tail end of a gala event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the formation of Big Cypress National Preserve.
The festivities had all but wound down when a fellow acquaintance named Ranger Rudi (soon to become a close friend) and myself found ourselves hunkering down at the campfire eating whatever food was left. “Before the smart phone, before TV,” Rudi lamented, “– the campfire was where people let their guard down, connected with one another and talked about life.” Ranger Rudi continued on about how he was “gearing up” to give a series of campfire talks at a cluster of campgrounds in the remote swamp preserve. At the end of the conversation he mentioned that he’d be using a Power Point. “A Power Point!? At a campfire talk!?” I interrupted in shock.
And so was born the idea of Ranger Rudi and Hydro Bob teaming up. In place of Rudi’s Power Point talk, we opted to developed a Shakespearian (or shall we say Vaudevillian) campfire skit. And here’s the real cincher: I would bring along my guitar (and a bunch of self-written nature ballads). In total, Rudi and I gave about a dozen campfire talks, each one building on the next and each one also leading up to the National Park Service’s 100th birthday, or Centennial celebration, of its formation in 1916. By our final campfire talk, on the eve of that fateful anniversary date, Rudi and I had already pivoted towards a new project: A book-length version of our half-hour campfire tale. It was just a half-year into that project when the new epiphany emerged: Not just one book, we had enough material for three (i.e. a trilogy). And so the odyssey began. In total, it took us 6 years to complete all the books. It was at that finish line that another moment of clairvoyance struck: We weren’t so much interested in hawking the books as we in continuing the conversation of the many overarching themes our literary endeavor opened up.
By the summer of 2020 the larger vision had finally coalesced: Nature Folk Inc was born. Nature Folk Inc is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization located in Naples, Florida focused on environmental education and outreach, but with a twist. Our goal is to reconnect people to nature by rekindling the traditional values and activities that the internet and smart phone culture have diminished or devalued … and finding a way to get them back.
Nature Folk Inc is an umbrella organization that integrates an ecosystem of websites and creative content aimed at raising environmental awareness and outreach for the Collier County, the Big Cypress Swamp, the Everglades, the Great State of Florida and pretty much the entire Earth. Our mission? To be positive and proactive and not stop what we’re doing until until the Nature Folk Movement (NFM) touches every corner of the Earth. What exactly is the NFM? It’s a growing societal responsibility and urge to become connected to and restore the natural world around us.
Our growing ecosystem started with a rather well-known and highly regarded water-cycle awareness website called Go Hydrology (https://gohydrology.org) that sprung to life in 2008. From the start, its goal has always been to give people an online avenue for feeling “at home” in the water cycle. As the availability of online information has exponentially expanded over the years, we also feel there is a growing gap. Technology has created a divide between humanity and nature. But why?
That’s where Nature Folk Inc’s unique approach steps in to fill the void. Our secret? We aim to connect with your heart as much as we do your mind. And we’re not afraid to go out on limb. And yes, a little dash of humor also helps out. It’s primary websites include GoHydrology.org, BobbyAngel.org and CampfirePark.org.
We’re not saying we have all the answers here at Nature Folk Inc. But we do feel like we’re on a promising track. Our aim is to be a voice in the wilderness that gives the water, the trees and the animals a proper seat at the table where the decisions are being made. And we’re not alone. If you’re reading this, you’re part of the club and we value your feedback and ideas.
What is the Nature Folk Movement (NFM)? It's where we go about fixing nature (and our connection to it) one campfire talk at a time. If you think that's far-fetched, don't forget your talking to a guitar. Guitar (shown above) also is the host of the Firelight Radio podcast.