Many of our urban adults can still remember their connection to rural life during their early childhood or visits to their grandparents that might have lived in rural America but, what about today's children? I talk with young folks that have no idea how the grocery store shelves get stocked and where the food comes from. We talk about what children need in their development such as food, shelter, love, security, etc. but, usually overlook the need to connect with our natural surroundings. My concern with the science of forestry led me to a deeper understanding of the connections we share and depend upon with the natural world and then, to a desire for a more in-depth knowledge of the story of creation. It is apparent that we are losing our intimate relationship and appreciation for the natural world and the life sustaining elements provided ONLY by that world, and have been doing so for some time!
A few advanced environmental education experts are beginning to recognize the importance of experiencing nature in childhood development. Research has demonstrated that experiencing the natural world helps children intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally. The professional literature states that nature's experiences can reduce stress, improve creativity, provide more positive relationships with others and improve concentration. There are strong indications that spending time in nature reduces symptoms of attention deficit disorders and improves problem solving and observational skills. There seem to be no question that eliminating a child's opportunity to connect with nature will result in major changes in how that person will value the natural world as an adult. The responsibility for this necessary educational experience, cannot be left just to our educators but, also requires the help of parents. When is the last time your child told you that trees can talk or rocks can feel? The magical wisdom of children is amazing! Today, we know that trees do communicate with each other and maybe even with humans through bio-rhythms, and rocks are a part of the circle of life as they weather and deteriorate to rich soils that provide life for millions of organisms on our planet. Everything is connected and children growing up without a connection to nature can develop fears and prejudices against our natural surroundings. Linking the story of creation to our Environmental education is critical but must transition from a scientific course to an ecological presentation that identifies and creates an appreciation for relationships. Our youth need to spend time outside in NATURE! I call it "NATURE'S WAY". What do you think? How do we improve our educational processes? Is todays affluency more important then the future for the next generation? Talk with your friends and let me know how you feel! Maybe sharing our thoughts can make a difference!