The WildeBeat

The audio journal about getting into the wilderness.


The WildeBeat edition 148: Bagging Wild Sounds, part 2

This is a supplementary transcript of our audio program. CLICK HERE to listen to the original program, and see the associated show notes.

You've got to be totally quiet; stand like a statue. And then, if you're in the right place at the right time, you'll capture your sound. This week on The WildeBeat; Bagging Wild Sounds, part two

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News from the Wildebeat, the audio journal about getting into the wilderness.

This is program number one forty eight.

I'm Steve Sergeant.

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STEVE: Naturalist Bernie Krause is quoted as saying, 'While a picture is worth a thousand words, a sound is worth a thousand pictures.' When it comes to wild places, this philosophy inspires some of us to close our eyes and listen.

STEVE: Last week we introduced our assistant producer, Kate Taylor. She presented part one of her report our visit to the annual field recording workshop presented by the non-profit organization, The Nature Sounds Society.

KATE: It was beautiful, both in sound and in sight. It was kind of like a community of tents and cabins with the main meeting place, of course, being the dining hall.

KATE: Some people, like Alton Byrd, are just up here for the fun of it.

ALTON BYRD:I'm here because I really kinda needed a short vacation and also, too, it's just really nice to get out into nature... For me it's kind of like a a rejuvenation hearing the nature sounds... I've been learning that I've been hearing sparrows and -- all different kind of stuff... there's just a a myriad of birds that I recorded, as well as I got some sounds of the stream that runs close by here as well... I was thinking about using them just for like kind of meditation and for relaxation instead of buying a commercial tape; I can just go out and go get the stuff myself and know what I'm listening to.

KATE: Alton lives in Berkeley, California, and works for a sound company.

ALTON BYRD:I was always curious about nature sound recording; I'd done some amateur recordings -- but I knew that there'd be some professionals here...We went to a meadow that was a really, really kind of a pristine environment that we recorded for about an hour and fifteen minutes without any traffic or any planes or anything of that nature. And just to hear it like how it used to be like almost thousands of years ago was just really kind of striking.

KATE: He's been recording nature sounds for over twenty years, so his experiences have given him the perspective of seeing the world change, particularly human impact on wild places.

MARTYN STEWART:I've found that the dawn choruses are so quiet in the morning compared to what they were ten years ago, twenty years ago; and sounds are diminishing — the natural sounds are diminishing... The the last endangered species that that I recorded was the Hawaiian Crow, and there are probably twenty-six of those left in existence; and I sat outside a propagating room — I wasn't allowed to see the bird... and I recorded these birds for an hour and- hour and a half and I cried my eyes out. I couldn't believe that I could be recording the last sounds of these birds... Programs like Animal Planet. Their audiences have increased ten-fold over the last five years, so people are out there and wanting to see what's happening. So I think by recording these animals and bringing it into people's lives makes them aware...The environmental impact from film, T.V., camera crews — it's heart-breaking sometimes to be able to work with people like that who do not respect the environment that they're trying to to record. Having said that, there are a lot of recordists who do respect what are out there because, like myself, I'm trying to gather as much information as possible to make people more aware of what's actually out there and what we need to protect.

KATE: Chris Bell is an artist and a museum proprietor from Sydney, Australia.

CHRIS BELL:The internal combustion engine has really changed the way the, you know, the world is heard. There's never a minute without a Harley Davidson going by...I consider myself a nature-lover and protector of nature, yet a city can be something of a vortex and you ...can get really tied up in in the interesting things that happen in a city, and you can have all the intentions the world of leaving the city for a weekend, and I never do. So this has really refreshed me make more of an effort to to get out and get some get some quiet time and some alone time.

MARTYN STEWART:When I was a kid I remember the word "extinction" kind of baffling me... I couldn't conceive why something goes and, you know, you've lost it — that you can't go and buy it back again... we've got the Polar Bear, we've got the Wyoming Toad, we've got the Hawaiian Crow... hundreds of other species ready to just exit on us, and with these go a thousand years, a million years of history.

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STEVE: Yuba Pass, at dawn. Late morning at Madora Lake. Dawn at the outlet of Jameson Lake.

CHRIS BELL:Just the dimension of sound is so prevalent in our world and yet it's so misunderstood or disregarded, so I really like the idea of making an artwork that engages another sense... I still think there's a real necessity to remember and revere nature — well, you know, the natural un- unadulterated landscape.

KATE: My room mate was Gina Farr, and she lives in Marin County, and she produces web-based environmental multimedia.

GINA FARR:Listening to the natural world is magical, absolutely magical — and you don't need a recorder, you don't need headphones, and you don't need to get up an hour before dawn, and you can find that... sensory connection with nature just by stepping outside.

STEVE: So, Kate, how much different was this event than what you were expecting?

KATE: Well, I was not expecting to get up and spend hours recording the sounds of the dawn chorus. But it was amazing, it was more than I expected. Before this I'd never taken the time to really notice the sounds around me. After spending hours listening to the natural sounds, planes and cars going by, umm, they're a nuisance now. I notice them more than I ever have.

STEVE: Well, Kate, thank you for telling the story of our adventures out there at the Nature Sounds Society annual field workshop.

KATE: You're welcome, Steve.

STEVE: We'd like to hear your questions about recording your own nature sounds, your experiences recording them, and we always want to hear anything else you think about our show. You can call our toll free comment line at 866-590-7373, or e-mail your comments to comments at wildebeat dot net. You can find links to more information about the Nature Sounds Society, additional nature sounds, pictures from the workshop, and download a high-quality stereo version of both parts of this show, on our web site.

STEVE:: WildeBeat members can download an extended interview segment with Martyn Stewart, and additional nature sounds recordings from our WildeBeat Insider web pages.

STEVE: As a free, listener-supported service, we depend on you to help support our work. You can help by making a tax-deductible annual membership donation to our project. Membership levels start at sixteen dollars a year, and full membership is forty eight. For a limited time, become a WildeBeat member and get a weekend's worth of meals from Alpine Aire foods, books from Wilderness Press, access to bonus audio content, and more, as thank you gifts.

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Our official website is WWW dot WILDEBEAT (that's W-I-L-D-E-B-E-A-T) dot NET. If we helped you get into the wilderness, could you help us do the same for others? Please click on our support link and become a member. The WildeBeat is produced by Steve Sergeant, with help from Jean Higham and Kate Taylor, as a nonprofit educational project of Earth Island Institute.

This has been The WildeBeat, program number one forty seven. Thank you for listening.

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Next time -- Waste Training.

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