My dear Charles Darwin #blogging101

Charles Darwin as young man.

Charles Darwin as young man.

My dear Charles Darwin,

I hope this letter finds you well and ideally in a place where all your many ailments have been resolved. No doubt you will be surprised to get this letter from North Wales but you will just have to believe me than some relatively recent scientific developments have made it possible for me to get in touch with you.  Actually this communication is called a “blog”.  I think you would have enjoyed blogging because you were a great correspondent and it would have given people immediate access to the many interesting observations you made.

Anyway my time is short and I really want to give you on update on a place close to your heart, Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia.  A couple of weeks ago we had a very special party to celebrate this wonderful place which helped to open your eyes to glacial processes.  We were marking a landmark date in the environmental history of Cwm Idwal as it has now been a National Nature Reserve for 60 years.  Although we appreciate you could not be there for the party you were, of course, mentioned in the speeches and your photograph is projected on the wall of new building for visitors every day.

Also I hope you will be pleased to hear experiments are being carried out at Cwm Idwal.  In particular grazing has been excluded from parts of the reserve over varying time periods and we are recording the regeneration of the natural vegetation.  I try to get there at least once during the summer to see the successive changes.  I love the meadows of bright yellow Bog Asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum) but the heather is now making quite a comeback, and we even have some trees!

I always think of you when I see your beloved insectivorous Drosera plants and remember how they gave you hours of amusement watching the leaves curl around their prey.  On a good day the sunshine glistens on the globules of gluey fluid on their leaves.  You said you would stick up for Drosera to the day of your death so I suspect you would not worry if the occasional crumb of cheese sandwich accidentally dropped on a Cwm Idwal Drosera, after all that is what you fed to your plants in the laboratory.

But I also appreciate that your work on Drosera pretty much wore you out at one stage and you recognized the need to sit and not do much some times.  In addition to the hundreds of students who come to learn about the ecology and geology of the reserve every year, even more people come to enjoy the landscape and get some healthy exercise.  You would be impressed at the growing public consensus that nature is good for the body and soul.

But before I sign-off there is one thing I really want to resolve with you and I hope you can find a way to send me a reply. Were you ever on Anglesey?  We know you left Sedgwick at Capel Curig but I can’t believe you did not take the opportunity to visit him when he was on the island.  After all you did have a copy of Henslow’s The Geology of Anglesey on The Beagle.  I like to imagine you passing over the new Menai Bridge.  I wager you would have walked over and paused to take in the view of the Strait but, with respect, it was a big omission to not have recorded this clearly in your diary.  People are still arguing over whether you were on Anglesey over one hundred years later!

I have to go now, as I need to be up early for work which involves knowing about and protecting the Welsh environment.  I am sure you would agree we have been doing a good job at Cwm Idwal.

By the way your theory of evolution has been a great success even if there are still some Creationists around…..

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours very sincerely,

Catherine

Caveats! This was an experimental piece of writing carried out in a short period of time as part of a #blogging101 assignment to write for your dream blog reader and after a long day at work.  

Listen to the speeches made at the birthday celebrations for Cwm Idwal on the video below.  You can also follow @Cwm_Idwal on Twitter.

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