include other naturalists such as Beatrix Potter, Racheal Carson, John Audubon, Lois Agassiz, Ernst Haeckel, and Leonardo DaVinci. Showcasing the naturalists’ combined skills
of observation, drawing, and keeping notebooks sets the tone
of keeping notebooks in all biological investigations and is
useful for other labs. Also, in this discussion we examine
the ecological problems facing pollinators, including pesticide
use, loss of wildflowers, and loss of habitat. It is good to also
bring up current issues with this discussion, such as recent
news from the World Health Organization announcing how
dangerous pesticides are to human health and to butterflies
and other pollinators. This helps show the interconnectedness of our lives with other living systems, and helps students
reflect on the world they live in today.
5. You may want to take a nature walk first, or after you intro-
duce the drawing of insects and butterflies as well as wild-
flowers without going into any more detail about them. Use
the “deconstruction” exercise provided (Figure 2), then move
to drawing caterpillars and the biology of butterflies. I suggest
including at least two drawings of flowers and their parts, a
basic drawing of the life cycle of butterflies, a basic drawing
of a butterfly, and a few other insects. Also helpful are fre-
quent one-hour or two-hour silent nature walks with limited
talking and limited or no photography. These walks would
include a nature journaling experience of observing and
drawing specimens of interest.
6. Once students have taken a nature walk and tried their
hand at some drawing, you can hand out notecards and
provide a sample Nabokov notecard drawing for students
to copy (Figure 3), as well as clear photos of butterfly wings
and scales to draw.
7. You can have them work in pairs, alone, or in groups.
Once students familiarize themselves with the variation
in butterfly wings, they can discuss the details of what
they observe with each other and compare their drawings.
Comparing drawings allows students to see how each of
us interprets visual data differently. You can also ask them
to examine variation in other structures or characters such
as seashells to simply exercise their ability to observe