Take time to listen.

Yesterday I returned home from the Ecology and Acoustics meeting in Paris, France. It was a wonderful meeting full of people thinking about sound, soundscape, and ecology from many different perspectives. I met and heard from many of the scientists who wrote the first papers on soundscape ecology and many of the papers I read for my 2014-06-15 20.13.48preliminary exam preparation. I also had the chance to meet the one and only Bernie Krause (see right). I had breakfast with Bernie and his wife. Turns out, Bernie was good friends with Kenneth Norris. Bernie is considered the father of soundscape ecology and Kenneth Norris is a pioneer marine mammal researcher and started the research on Hawaiian spinner dolphins.

I gave a presentation on our Sound in the Sea Day outreach event called “Promoting marine soundscape awareness in middle school students.”  On the Metro home from 2014-06-16 16.55.55dinner the day of my presentation, one of the attendees leaned over and said, “Heather do you know what the most memorable part of your talk today was?” I said, “No, what?” And he said it was the story I told about the boy at Sound in the Sea Day. The story goes…

I brought one of the groups of middle school students outside to take time to listen to their terrestrial soundscape. I said, I wanted them to just listen. One of the boys said to me, “To what?” I said, “Just listen.” He replied, “I don’t understand, to what?” So I told him he didn’t need to speak to just keep quiet and listen. And that’s when he started to hear the wind on the flagpole, the seagull nearby, the lawnmower, the boats…

He said they talked about that story throughout their lunch break.

After the conference my sister and I did some visiting and touring and went to Avignon for a few days. We went on a lavender tour and I will never forget the sound of the bees. I sat in the field and just listened to probably millions of happy bees as they buzzed around the fields. The sound was absolutely beautiful. And as my sister and I sat in the field and listened to the bees I was reminded what beautiful soundscapes exist in the world and how important it is to take time to just listen.

PicMonkey Collage