Reconnecting with the Natural World at Night

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Show notes:

It is so easy to come home at the end of a long day, eat supper, and then just sink into the couch to veg out for a bit or keep ourselves busy with household activities that need to be done. I’ll be honest, I’m as guilty as the next person of falling into that trap. But nature doesn’t just stop when the sun goes down. Instead, a whole new world opens up and comes to life – a world that is just as interesting and fascinating as anything we find during the daytime.

In this week’s episode of the Backyard Ecology, I talk with Bill Napper. Bill is a volunteer night naturalist at Bernheim Arboretum, a caver, an author, and much more. At Bernheim, Bill leads night hikes and other night programs that cover a variety of seasonal topics related to the natural world at night. He jokes that he has spent over a decade in the dark. Bill just has a general love of the night and enjoys sharing that passion with others.

During our conversation, Bill and I talk about many different topics. Some of the animals we talk about include crickets and katydids, lightning bugs, the night jars (whip-poor-wills, chuck-wills-widows, poor-wills, and night hawks), moths, and bats. We also talk about the night sky, noise pollution, and light pollution. In addition, Bill offers tips for finding formal night programs that you can participate in, as well as, ways you can enjoy the natural world at night in your own backyard. You really don’t have to travel to the middle of nowhere to experience nature’s night life. There is likely a lot going on in your own yard.

This was just an easy, fun conversation that touched on lots of different topics related to the natural world at night. We don’t dive too deep into any of the topics we discussed. We’ll do that in other episodes. Our goal with this episode was simply to remind all of us about how captivating nature’s night life can be, and hopefully inspire us to make the time to go outside at night and reconnect with the nocturnal world in our own ways.


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Episode image:

Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at

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