Some broad themes brought me where I am today. At a very young age, my hobby became thinking and finding connections.
Dean Kamen, Inventor
Over three years ago I started this blog as a way to show my elementary students that by becoming aware of the world outside your door, you can enrich your life beyond measure. After seeing that there are many websites that now focus on the flora and fauna of our state, and do it much better than I can, I decided to change the focus of the blog to photographing the four seasons within the different habitats at Ballards..
With photos, I wanted to show the changing seasons at Ballard Nature Center, located just west of Effingham on Route 40. BNC, in my mind, was like the hidden jewel of south-central Illinois, and it still is. Sharing that jewel with others in the area was my way of saying thank-you to BNC, and the late Ernie Ballard, for giving us a place of peace, a place to gather, a place to learn, a place to connect with nature, a place to take our families.
This was all before BNC got their awesome new website, see it here, and their Facebook page. Now Karan Greuel and Patty Gillespie, Directors of the center, do a fabulous job of adding beautiful pictures to the Facebook page, and keep everyone updated with the latest news. I am a "Friend" and hope you are, too.
With the BNC having such great representation in the local area, I then looked for ways to "show off" our little local jewel to the world. I took my tiny little blog to the world through weekly "Memes" such as "SkyWatch Friday," "MyWorld Tuesday," "Scenic Sunday," "Weekend Reflections," and the beautiful monthly meme "Festival of the Trees." (See links on the sidebar of this blog.)
"Illinois Nature Walk at Ballard Nature Center and Beyond" is also now permanently listed in The Nature Blog Network and BlogCatalog. ...As I believe any blog about this lovely little educational respite deserves.
Far too late into the life of this blog, I finally added a flag counter to track the regions from where the visitors originate. As of this posting, there have been visitors from 38 of the 50 United Stated, and 36 different countries around the world. To find out how much those numbers have increased, click on the flag counter on the right.
But one of the things that I have loved the most about this blog are the photos I was able to take. I began photographing nature when I was just a child, many decades ago, and am always looking for the perfect moment when that balance light and dark is met. I'm still looking, and probably always will be, but the joy is in the quest.
The other benefit that I have enjoyed about this blog are the wonderfully reflective walks on the trails that allowed me to be a participant in the beauty around me. Whether with my faithful four-legged companions, my occasional two-legged companions, or just on my own, I have frequented the four-seasoned trails that could be, for any one, at any time. "The Little Brown Church in the Vale." Some of my closest walks and talks with God have been in a church with a blue sky ceiling and a golden, leafy carpet. Everyone has their own path to feeling close to God, and my path was often just a trail in the woods.
So as you can see, this whole blog has been a labor of love. But now with added demands with my job, my family, and my health, there just is not enough time in the months to come for me to post to this blog.
I hope to return to this blog next year, but for now, to my faithful few followers, the local readers, and the beautiful bloggers around the world, I bid you adieu.
I will miss you all.