I have fond memories of school field trips to the Shaker Lakes area near my home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. We observed the changes of the seasons, listened for birds. I got my boot stuck in the mud--quite an adventure. We collected leaves and learned the names of trees, gathered seed pods and acorns, smelled pine needles, watched the ducks.
All those memories came flooding back when I saw a link to these upcoming programs at the Howard County Conservancy. Stephanie Holzman will be leading Babes in the Woods, for parents with carry-able infants, and Stories Under the Sycamore, for "new walking toddlers and little ones in rugged strollers." What a wonderful way to introduce children to the natural world from their earliest years, not to mention a great way for frazzled parents to reconnect and re-energize.
That made me think about a group I heard about on Facebook, Columbia Families in Nature. So I looked them up, too. Their website contains a link to a video on YouTube explaining the reason for the group's founding, which is worth the watch. How do you get people to care about preserving the environment? You start with children and families.
And then there's this: the project at the Robinson Nature Center to create an outdoor Nature Playground for kids. I learned about it from reading Lisa B, Mrs. S. : "A Dream Come True", post from July 23rd. Anyone who knows me is aware that I have been wishing and hoping and lobbying for a musical playground in Howard County. Many people have been the recipient of a nice note from me with the following link. My thought was Inner Arbor. It looks like the folks at the Robinson Nature Center had been thinking about it all along.
As the children head back to school there will be more sitting, more time inside, more paper and pencil learning. Now is the time to make the effort to schedule in a date with nature. It is so easy to forget. And yet we all have such a deep need to connect with our natural world. We are extremely lucky that Howard County has so many ways for us to do it.