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Nature School Inspiration

Last week I hosted a webinar with my wonderful partners at The Northwoods Co. LLC. We explored the roots of our desire to provide outdoor education to young children. TBH, I had NOT been looking forward to this webinar for two reasons: first, it was live, and I get a tad bit anxious about my technology when I have to present a live webinar, and secondly, it was on a topic that, frankly, bored me to tears.

How is it possible that a training on the very foundation of my career might bore me? I think it's because I've visited the materials and resources referenced in the webinar so darn often that I am a little tired of repeating myself.

BUT, and I should have known this would be the case: the conversations and follow-up networking that occurred during and after this webinar surprised me by being some of the richest and most valuable that I have encountered in a long time! I left the experienced with renewed energy and more inspiration than I brought to it to begin with.

So first, I'm writing today to remind you to approach each learning and teaching experience with an open mind and heart. I had forgotten. And while I'm here, I though I'd share with you some of the wise words that continue to drive our passion into the world of nature education. Enjoy!

From Peter Houghton & Jane Worrol in Play the Forest School Way:

"Nature offers us a sanctuary a place where we can find peace and wonder. It is not limited by time or confined by walls, and even today we cannot control it completely. It is much larger and older than we are, and its rhythms resonate deep within us. Nature is where we are from and where we belong, and our survival is intricately linked to its existence. For children it is the greatest playground of all, with all its diverse structures, smell, textures, its creatures of all shapes and sizes, its abundant plants, some edible, others toxic. Nature offers a myriad of opportunities for risk taking, for a wealth of learning and amazement, and for freedom, separate from the adult world."

From Amanda Blake Soule & Stephen Soule in The Rhythm of Family, Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons:

"Nature's place as a reward on this journey needs little explanation. For it is there that we- young and old- can and do find much that we need in life: comfort, peace, curiosity, sustenance, adventure, and wonder. In the magical world of the woods, or the shore, or the park around us, our children can truly be free- free to be themselves, free to explore, free to experience the wonder of nature's intricacies around them."

From Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods; Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder:

"Alone, parents cannot heal the broken bond. But each guardian, parent, or other family member can lead the way at home, and within the institutions to which they belong. Educators, city planners, youth nature-program leaders, environmentalists- all of these people will determine the direction of the third frontier, and guide it either toward the end of natural experience, or toward its rebirth in new forms."

From Claire Walker Leslie in The Nature Connection:

"One of the best things a student ever said to me was, 'I used to think there was nothing in my backyard, but now I know it's a jungle out there!' I love teaching kids about nature because they are so enthusiastic once they start realizing what a wonderful world is right around them..."

From Rachel Carson in The Sense of Wonder:

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder... he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in."

See you out there!



When not working with children and their caregivers, "Lady" Lisa and her family enjoy exploring the woods, lakes, and beaches that surround their northern Michigan home. She holds a masters degree in early childhood studies, a graduate certificate in teaching adults in the early childhood field, and accreditation in wilderness safety and the forest school ethos.


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