The Naturalist’s Notebook is a unique exploratorium, shop and 13.8-billion-year brain-building adventure that fills three floors of a lovely 1895 building in Seal Harbor, Maine. It was founded in 2009 by artist/photographer Pamelia Markwood and her husband, Craig Neff, a longtime Sports Illustrated editor and writer and the former editor of Sports Illustrated For Kids. A combination of Craig and Pamelia’s interests, creative talents, and love of learning, The Naturalist’s Notebook is a handmade space that merges nature, science, arts and the frontier of knowledge in interactive installations and projects that are fun and accessible for all ages.
The Seal Harbor building is set up as a 13.8-billion-year environment. Visitors travel from a naturalist’s field tent to forest, ocean and carriage trail and up a staircase through time to the beginning of the universe. They interact, shop, draw, think and explore as they fly to the Sun and step onto the surface of the Moon. They even go inside a human brain. The experience is enriched with the words and insights of some of the world’s top scientists, naturalists, artists and educators. These experts, drawn from a range of backgrounds and bodies—from Dartmouth to Cal Berkeley to the Jane Goodall Institute to the Scripps Oceanographic Institution to the Whitney Museum of American Art to the Broadway dance world—are among The Naturalist’s Notebook’s continually growing team of collaborators.
The Notebook offers 13.8-billion-year art workshops, book signings, talks and other special events. Among its educational projects is The 13.8-Billion-Year Hue-Story of Our Life, a science-and-art initiative based on a 24-color-coded, spectrum-linked timeline of the universe. In 2013, Pamelia and Craig expanded the Notebook’s biological diversity by adding an annex location on Main St. in Northeast Harbor, Maine. The Naturalist’s Notebook blog is a popular virtual destination, with followers in 156 countries.