Nature Blogging at ScienceOnline09

At last weekend’s terrific ScienceOnline09 science blogging conference, two Nature Blog Network stalwarts Grrlscientist of Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) and Kevin Zelnio of Deep-Sea News moderated a session on Nature Blogging. Alas, N8 and I missed this valuable session since we were out, um, chasing nature but that doesn’t mean the important dialogue should be left behind!

Grrlscientist posted a list of questions on her blog for discussion. You can find 11 participants’ written responses transcribed for you to read and comment on there as well. However, I’ve posted the questions below in the hopes that members of the NBN would be willing to share their thoughts on any and all of the topics touched upon. This is what we do after all, right?

  1. What is a nature blog? What is the difference between nature and science blog writing? What is the difference between nature blog writing and other types of blog writing?
  2. What are (should be) the goals for nature blog writing?
  3. How important are blog carnivals for connecting nature-loving folks (e.g., I And The Bird, Circus of the Spineless, Carnival of the Blue, Oekologie…)?
  4. What do you think about collaborative global sites like: iNaturalist, Faunapolis, Scratchpads, The Internet Bird Collection, UKmoths, Identify a butterfly and Useum?
  5. Who is the audience? What are they looking for, what are they finding?
  6. How much science is (and should or should not be) associated with nature stories and pictures?
  7. What is the best nature essay you’ve read in the past year or so? Why did you like this essay so much?
  8. Other comments…?

Please share your thoughts, opinions, and favorite nature essays of 2008 in the comments section!


  1. January 25, 2009 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    1. They overlap, but aren’t the same. There are non-scientific aspects of nature, and aspects of science that deal with the mad-made or non-organic aspects of the world.

    Science blog writing is like any other science writing – focused on facts, experimental outcomes, and the ability to replicate the results. Nature blog writing can be analytical, instructive, and informative, but it can also approach nature from a personal or a mystical perspective. These last two don’t fall in the realm of traditional scientific inquiry.

    How is nature blogging different from other types of blog writing? I can’t answer that. There’s a wide variety within nature writing and within other types of blogging. I would hope that nature bloggers would share their intense love of nature and desire to protect and nourish the environment, but there’s no requirement for that. I think the simple answer is that nature bloggers write about nature, and pass on most if not all of the “hot” topics in popular culture.

  2. January 28, 2009 at 2:40 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for your comment wren!