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In 1983, professor Howard Gardner wrote a book titled “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence”. He explained how intelligence has felt short of worthy recognition as one of the greatest human achievements. We are all born with multiple intelligence with everyone having differences in our strengths and weaknesses.

Gardner stated in his book that there are seven kinds of intelligence. They include linguistics, musicals, logical or mathematical, spatial, bodily kinaesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligence. In his second edition of the book in 1994, he added the “eighth intelligence”: Naturalist Intelligence.

An added knowledge: A brief explanation of the types of intelligence.

Linguistics intelligence: ability to use language correctly and efficiently, both in oral and written forms.

Musical intelligence: ability to create, identify, transform and express musical patterns, styles, and form.

Logical or Mathematical intelligence: ability to use numbers efficiently and analyze problems logically.

Spatial intelligence: ability to understand space and imagine drawings and images in two and three dimensions. 

Bodily kinaesthetic: the ability to express ideas using tools or perform physical exercises with the body.

Interpersonal intelligence: ability to interpret the mental state of others 

Intrapersonal intelligence: the ability to form a true and precise model of oneself.

What is Naturalist Intelligence?

Naturalist intelligence is considered to be a person’s interest in and connection with natural things around him. It can be seen in people who are intrinsically drawn to natural things such as objects, animals, plants, rivers, etc. This kind of intelligence is used to measure one’s awareness about the natural world, and observance of the changes around it. 

Naturalist intelligence points to how people relate to objects and the natural things around them.  People with naturalist behavior have sensitivity to nature. The eighth intelligence (naturalist intelligence) focuses on one’s ability to understand, analyze and manipulate things in their environment. We are not all born with this type of intelligence but can be developed over time. 

Human survivors over the years have proven to be a result of strong naturalist intelligence. The first people on the earth had to differentiate between harmful and useful animals. Eatable foods and non-eatable foods were recognized by naturalist intelligence. Discerning climates and weather conditions have helped in the survival of human beings.

Developing Naturalist Intelligence

Naturalist intelligence just like other intelligence can be developed. Some intelligence and instincts come at birth but some can be developed. The main culture to develop is PRACTICE. Naturalist intelligence can be developed at any point in one’s life. Once you take interest in nature and its affiliates,  you can pursue the interest by studying and practicing. 

As said before, naturalist intelligence can be developed in childhood or later in life. Some activities could help incite this urge and turn it into reality. Practicing is very important because intelligence is not only about arithmetic or academics. We must understand that time spent on training is important. The more you practice, the more intelligent you become.

Naturalist intelligence can be developed through some activities such as camping, hiking, visiting museums, watersides, zoos, animal parks, mountains, watching national geographical shows, reading about nature, etc. Can the environment affect naturalistic intelligence? Yes, it can. The environment in which a child grew up can influence his naturalist intelligence. 

What a man is exposed to is important. That is why it is important to take trips, read and watch to build out intelligence. Naturalist intelligence is developed in the brain that recognizes patterns and makes subtle connections.

Characteristics of Naturalist Intelligence

People with naturalist intelligence will show some characteristics. Note that some people naturally have this intelligence and it can also be learned. These characteristics are peculiar to people with naturalist intelligence or people who want to acquire this specific intelligence.

In general, people with naturalist intelligence have the following characteristics:

Naturalist Intelligence

Express desire to know how things work

Thanks to naturalist intelligence, we can recognize differences between objects, people, groups, or species. The desire to know and know more about how things work is a result of naturalist intelligence. 

Like discovering new things

People with naturalist intelligence don’t stop at desiring to know alone. They discover new things. More reason why researchers are still into the natural world to find out new things.

Aware of changes in the weather

Weather changes are easily spotted by people with this intelligence. Any slight change in the weather, these sets of people easily feel it before others.

Passionate about preserving the environment

Another characteristic is that they are passionate about preserving the environment. With the rise in the extinction of some major plants and animals, they preach preservation.

Like playing with objects, plants, and animals

People with naturalist intelligence like to play with objects, plants, and animals. They tend to have gardens, farm, and rear all kinds of animals.

They don’t feel bored when alone with natural things

As humans, we tend to feel bored and less interested especially when we are alone. Naturalist intelligent people feel among when among plants and animals. They relate with them like they are dealing with humans. Taming, teaching, communicating, and understanding animals are not hard for these people. 

Other characteristics include:

  1. They have an affinity for natural habitats 
  2. Good at observing patterns and styles 
  3. Easily identify colors 
  4. Despise pollution 
  5. Make crafts and projects from nature 
  6. They enjoy connecting with nature 
  7. Children with high naturalist intelligence love to have a pet and are fascinated by how plants grow.
  8. They show interest in science careers 

Activities that can help develop Naturalist Intelligence

Normally, people with naturalist intelligence are inclined to natural things and what humans have created. Naturalist intelligence delves beyond ordinary observation into the nature of things and their functions. Identification, classification, and sorting of objects, animals, and plants of the same species are their propensity.

The majority of the activities that can help develop naturalist intelligence are grouped into the following:


Activities that help come in contact with nature. The things we see help to develop naturalist intelligence. Such activities include a visit to the forest reserves, zoo, aquarium, mountains, rivers, etc.


After contact is observation. Critical studying and observation of what has been seen further help to develop naturalist intelligence. You can observe the environment, movements, relationships, etc. Observation involves using all the five senses of organs. 


Things seen for the first time might not make much meaning, that’s why you must explore. You can take samples for further studying or read more about what you have seen. You could make use of magnifying glasses, binoculars, or microscopes depending on the things to be explored.


Classification helps to develop naturalist intelligence. You classify things based on what you have seen and studied. It could be based on species relationships or reactions.

Other activities include planting, discovering, uncovering, comparing, displaying, digging, etc.

Naturalist Intelligence

Famous examples of people with Naturalist Intelligence

Here are some famous examples of people with Naturalist Intelligence:

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin is regarded as the most famous evolutionary scientist. He proposed the theory of evolution through natural selection. He studied evolution by gathering different species all over the world. He then published his findings in his book titled: The Origin of the Species.

Alexander Von Humboldt 

Alexander was a naturalist and explorer. He was the first scientist to write about the relationship between humans and nature causing climate change. 

E.O. Wilson 

E.O. Wilson is said to be the world’s greatest naturalist and the father of socio-biology. In his book “Ants” he wrote about how insects create structure, organizations, and hierarchies. Relating it to traits that were once thought only humans possess. 

John James Audubon 

Audubon is considered to be the father of the conservationist movement. He created a collection of paintings, “Birds of America”. He has inspired millions to go to the mountains, rivers, woods, etc. In search of rare bird sightings. 

George Washington Carver 

Carver was known for inventing peanut butter but he did much more. He studied the soil and found out that one of the ways to improve soil quality is by planting soybeans and peanuts. 

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson wrote the book “Silent Spring”. She studied and concluded that certain pesticides are causing damage to the environment causing the extinction of some plants and animals. Thanks to her intelligence, some pesticides are no longer in use.

Suitable Careers for Naturalist intelligent People

  • Geology 
  • Botany
  • Archaeology 
  • Horticulture
  • Zoology 
  • Ecology
  • Forensic expert 
  • Conservationist 
  • Environmental Protector
  • Animal trainer 

Lastly, many people considered naturalist intelligence as more of ability than intelligence. Experts taught us that this type of intelligence can be learned by practicing with time. It can be easily spotted in a child if he displays any of the characteristics listed above. Someone can possess naturalist intelligence and a couple of other kinds of intelligence. An example of this is Leonardo Da Vinci. His research cuts across many fields from the medical field to engineering and management

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