What are “Nature Vignettes”?
The main thrust of our effort as a non-profit is the creation of a steadily-growing collection of “Nature Vignettes,” intimate multimedia portraits of species, habitats, and a variety of other natural phenomena. Our use of the word “vignette” derives from one of the definitions provided by the Oxford English Dictionary: “A vignette is a brief, evocative description, account or episode”.
The highlight of each vignette is an immersive and cinematic “video portrait” (placed at the top) that provides an intimate exposure to the living reality, to the “way-of-being” or “essence” of the subject at hand. Artfully-conceived and carefully-crafted, our video portraits include stunning natural soundtracks and sometimes a musical accompaniment. Most do not include spoken words, although textual captions may be employed where appropriate.
We consider our video portraits to be unique and revolutionary in the realm of online nature education because they allow viewers to touch directly upon the miracle at hand, without being distracted by words, facts, and other abstract concepts. This is resonant with our belief that one should begin with a direct, non-verbal experience of the subject before proceeding to learn what is known about it. “Discover through the senses and then engage the mind” … such an sensible approach, yet we often go at it the other way around.
While our video portraits provide a powerful sensory exposure to our subjects, greater intellectual depth is achieved by including additional information and media — text, photos, and sound recordings — that combine with each video portrait to produce a well-rounded vignette. We strive to include basic life history facts, but we don’t consider our vignettes to be “fact-dispensers”. On the contrary, our vignettes are more poetically inclined and often focus on the human experience of each subject, conveyed through thoughtful prose and poetry.
It is instructive to compare our approach to that of other nature guides found on the internet. Most online guides rely strongly on the presentation of factual information, a style of coverage often lacking in heart and feeling. In contrast, our nature vignettes spring primarily from the heart, from the realm of direct experience and feeling, with factual information offered secondarily.
If we are successful, our nature vignettes (supercharged by cinematic video portraits) will help viewers establish an intimate and heartfelt love of nature, which is the foundation upon which all else rests. It has been said time and again that we protect what we love. Our mission and work spring directly from this belief. If we are able to plant the seeds of love, then we have accomplished our primary goal.
See also: EarthCare