"Henry David Thoreau was a peculiar fellow. After his secluded stint at Walden Pond, his fixation with the natural world only grew. Starting in 1852, his journal turned into a two million-word project documenting seasonal observations around his small Massachusetts township, Concord. Over the next six springs he could be seen racing about town like a madman in an effort to spot and record that year’s first elusive blooms, all the while taking notes."
"'Thoreau was sort of crazed, trav eling near and far across Concord to find the earliest flowering species, many of which can no longer be found in the area,' said Charles Davis, a professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University. 'We don’t ultimately know why he was gathering this data.'
Until relatively recently, many critics dismissed Thoreau’s work as amateurish. Today, however, he is respected not only for his contribution to literature and philosophy but also for his work as a naturalist."