CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – A new nature-themed art display graces the walls of The Missouri Department of Conservation's Cape Girardeau Nature Center each month. For December, the display is a collection of photographs titled, "Oh, what beautiful things you'll see" by Bridget Jackson, an MDC education consultant.
Jackson isn't a professional photographer. She took up the hobby about five years ago. However, she hopes her images will encourage others to unplug in nature and take a deeper look at the natural world.
"I feel like people today, even those who would consider themselves somewhat 'outdoorsy,' don't fully use their senses when outdoors," Jackson said.
Jackson said things like mushrooms, snakes and birdsong are often overlooked in nature.
"I miss things, too, and this both breaks my heart and astounds me," Jackson said. "Taking up photography and sitting in one spot waiting to get a perfect shot helps sharpen the senses."
While sitting in one spot in the woods with her camera, Jackson photographs anything that catches her eye, particularly at ground level. Plants and other forest floor residents such as lichens and insects might not initially seem glamorous, but they can still be beautiful, she said.
"I like things that showcase the intricacies of science and math and God's amazing wonder at the same time," Jackson said. "Lichens are a prime example. Science tells us they shouldn't exist because they are comprised from two kingdoms of life; but they do. They're beautiful and varied and everywhere."
Jackson said as she notices these fine details in nature, she sees links to creation, science and math, particularly in the golden ratio. The golden ratio is a mathematical principle, where a number is found by dividing a line into two parts, so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part.
"It [the golden ratio] can be seen in flower petals, pine cones, and many things in nature," she said. "To me, these are things that show God's hands in creation and in science and in math and that's inspiring."
Jackson said she hopes her photographs will show how there are beautiful things everywhere, even if they must be searched out.
"They may not be beautiful in the classic sense, but they have a beauty of their own. I hope it will show people to just be willing to look, and take the time," she said. "It will be well worth it."
Jackson's photographs are on display until Dec. 31 during the Nature Center's regular operating hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located inside Cape Girardeau's North County Park, just east of Interstate 55 (Exit 99) and Kingshighway (State Highway 61).
For more information on this and other programs at the center, go online to www.mdc.mo.gov/CapeNatureCenter or text nature to 91212.