Back when I was in confirmation, it was standard fare to MEMORIZE the entire Lutheran Small Catechism. It was a horrendous job and painfully difficult, but we all needed to do it.
My internship pastor had, over his lifetime, memorized all the Psalms including chapter and verse.
Boys struggling to get Scout Rank agonize over the Oath and Laws (really? 12 words in a certain order?)
It is a practice that with the ever increasing use of modern electronic technology no longer is "needed"...... well until the battery dies then it may be a matter of life or death. (I didn't coin the phrase "Death by GPS")
It's been 50 years and I can still recall major portions of the Lutheran Small Catechism.
I learned the importance of memorizing things from my internship pastor.
I know all the BSA knots and lashings, and I also know the Monkey Fist, the Turk's Head and the Truckers' Knot, use them all the time as a kayaker/canoeist. I Diamond Hitch my kayaks when I use the trailer with no rack.
I know my different woods. I can drive down the road and in late summer pick out 10 different plants along the way every mile. I know my trees.
I currently have 10 new plants identified so I can go find them out in the woods rather than finding them and then going to the books to figure out what they are.
Observation and Bird STUDY, Mammal STUDY, Nature STUDY, implies boning up this stuff BEFORE going out and enjoying. Observing things, drawing them on paper, looking closely for small details all are a way of mentally memorizing something so that one can look it up and compare to reference books later. That "ancient" BSA practice is a fantastic way of learning and memorizing items in nature without having to drag along a smartphone and charger.
I have a spot in my yard I leave to nature every year. The first crop of wild flowers is dandelions. Just a weed you say??? Ever have dandelion wine or dandelion jelly? Nope, didn't think so. Then the area turns to Ox-eye Daisies, followed by a blaze of Hawk Weed. Now it is covered by Flea Bane and the Queen Anne's Lace and Yarrow and ready to bloom. The Spider Wart is just finishing up near the edge of the forest and the May Apples and Jack-in-the-Pulpit are dying back. Soon the mushrooms will be set along with the various ferns that line the nature trail I have in the back "40".
I don't carry a book and I don't carry a smartphone when I am in the yard or forest around the house. I just do a lot of memorization. It makes for a more enjoyable experience.
With the old storytelling oral histories of past civilizations and their vast knowledge of herbs, food sources and animals passed from one generation to the next would find hand-written books to be rather high-tech.
It's a shame we have lost that ability in today's culture.