Sonny Gamponia

Joined: Apr 15, 2018 Last Active: May 26, 2024 iNaturalist

I am a septugenarian, retired educator and volunteer at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. I am primarily a birder wanting to learn more about the dynamics of native Hawaiian ecosystems, especially the dunes, wetlands and shrublands at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge.

I taught Nature and Forestry merit badges as a camp counselor on Maui at the age of 15. I am heavily influenced by Aldo Leopold (Sand County Almanac) and David George Haskell (The Forest Unseen). They both led me to learning how to read the land and seeing a patch of land as a mandala--focusing on a pattern to find a path to enlightenment.

My mandala at any given time is a 10 X 10 meter patch of habitat for native plants, insects and birds. Each patch is a paragraph, the species within the patch are words, their interaction is ecology and meaning.

Now in my 70's , I teach reading nature much differently that I taught nature as a Boy Scout counselor. Taken a model from Bloom's taxonomy, we practice reading landscapes as if it was a orchestra conducors musical score: soil, water, grasses, low shrubs, tall shrubs, mid story trees, canopy, perches, and what's above the canopy. We practice reading at 4 levels of understanding from this score:: 1) behavior; 2) species identification and life history; 3) influences of time and culture; and 4) ecology.

iNaturalist and photographic journaling has become my main medium of instruction.

sgamponia is not following anyone.