Matthew Pruden


Member since: May 06, 2022


Although I was born in New Jersey, I’ve lived in Philadelphia for about 30 years. My background is in the fine arts and while I’ve spent my adult life working in the arts and culture field, I’ve long enjoyed camping, hiking, and outdoor pursuits in NY, NJ, and PA.
My initial experience with close looking was with tree identification and edible foraging as I’ve tried to deepen my understanding of the local environment, its native species and sense of place in the Delaware watershed (and Lenape homeland.) Just a few years ago, I started to tune into birding more particularly: my first pair of decent binoculars was really the gateway. As this changed my perception, I began to make field notes, lists, and sketches, scouring Peterson’s guidebook, then Sibley’s. I’ve more recently pursued online courses, with an emphasis on bird song, greatly assisted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon, and I’ve sought out the larger birding community in the Philadelphia area. My usual local haunts have been the Meadows at FDR park, John Heinz NWR, and Valley Forge NP.
As my fascination has deepened, so has my understanding of both the resilience and the difficult plight of these small wonders that we share our environment with. I try to foster this interest in my son as well, perhaps as a birder-in-training, but perhaps simply as someone who notices detail, looks more closely, and takes an interest in the natural world that we’re immersed in, the world that streams around us unnoticed unless we stop and look up.