A Seton Watch is an activity inspired by Ernest Thompson Seton’s approach to observing nature. It is a simple idea that is practiced by people all over the world.
The simple idea is to find a place in the natural world, sit quietly, and watch. A Seton Watch can be done anywhere – in your backyard, a park, the wilderness, or somewhere between these extremes.
Sit quietly until the “ripples of your presence” no longer disturb the natural world.
Observe what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you taste, what you feel, and what your spirit tells you in your watch space.
How long? 20 minutes is a good time frame, but if you only have five minutes, you can still be still, watch and listen. A longer watch can be even more enlightening – and refreshing.
After you have completed a Seton Watch, record what you saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt in your journal. That is precisely what Seton did.
We don’t know for sure who originated the idea of the Seton Watch. It is used in many places. One writer who contributed to popularizing the Seton Watch was Steve Van Matre, founder of the Earth Education movement.
“It is not possible to describe the unitive feeling of wholeness which sweeps over the Seton-watcher.”Steve Van Metre, in Acclimatizing (American Camping Association: 1974)