Nature Connection Philosophy
is based on collaborative sharing and ecological stewardship.
“Boredom is only for people who do not know themselves or the wonders of life.”
-Tom Brown Jr.
Children leading activities through their inquisitive nature inspires connection with the land, with eachother and with themselves....
Gratitude, respect and appreciation sharing, knowledge sharing circles (restorative communication practices), bird language (active listening), fire-building and foraging, freedom to wander, solo-sit-spots, group-sit-spots, sensory awareness activities, cardinal direction orientation, gardens and permaculture discussions, organic art activities, wet-on-wet water color painting, climbing trees, fireside storytelling...
Connect the children’s hearts and minds. Teach children earth stewardship mentality.
Respect for Mother Earth Care for the earth and the earth will care for you. The earth heals slowly from humans or not at all. Help children understand the impact of their actions upon the earth (Footprint journal activity) and how they may be empowered as protectors of the earth.
Caretaker Lessons for Shelters: What is given up in nature to supply us with the shelter. Gratitude. Debris from the ground is a protective blanket and supplies food for for the ground/ earth soil building. Dead debris is alive and has a purpose- awareness of everything dead or alive has a purpose. So when the debris hut is no longer of use- then return it to its natural state.
Caretaker Lessons for Fire: teach children the destructiveness for fire and how a camp fire can soon burn/destroy thousands of trees, plants, animal habitats. Also, a campfire plot can scar the earth for a considerable amount of time- how they leave a blackened scar on the earth. Also how the wood for the campfire may take away from the earth’s processes: when we burn firewood, we are also burning food for so many plants and animals. Again, everything has a purpose. Fire gives off smoke which pollutes the air and the flames may burn any insects or plants near its flames.
Caretaker Lessons for Trees: When trees get cut- they scream but you can not hear them. Because you can not hear them, does not mean they do not feel pain. Trees are rooted in the earth and can not run from danger. We are protectors of trees.
Travelling in the bush: stay in a group, always be able to see an adult, partner up with younger children, help keep watch of younger children who may stray when hiking throught he bush, Branch- snap-backs (aware who is in front and behind you, hold a branch for those behind you. Snow: stay warm and dry, watch slippery slopes. Washouts- holes- ditches- waterways: ensure children stay away from wetlands unless it is a supervised activity as a group. State firm boundries and rules for safe exploration/play zone. Staying calm. Staying warm. Discuss the elements fire, water, air, earth: how to protect oneself from over exposure/ underexposure to elements. Watch for old rusty barb fences and cans...
Safety in Nature: discuss what needs to be done in an emergency situation- phone calls. Group gathering space,care partners, phone numbers, allergies, epipens, choking. Discuss risksin nature: loose rocks, slopes, hills, cliffs, water and mud, brush piles (sharp sticks/ spikes/ thorns), fallen logs and standing dead trees (especially in wind- use the poplar in front yard/ poplars loose branches in the wind), caution when pulling on lower branches- watch for upper loose branches that may fall, widow-makers. Poisonous plants: do not eat/ taste any plants.
Lost proofing: Ensure children identify with their senses (not rely on sight alone), smells, sounds of distant traffic (direction of sounds), water in lowlands, highlands location to camp location. Exersise direction awareness (photo on right). Look for prominant features of landscape. Stop frequently and look around all ways- not just behind and in front. Carry a compass. Build Cairns (trail markers) in shape of arrows directing to camp. Do not panic- stay calm and sit down- call for help- stay and wait for help. Mark their shelter with a bright piece of clothing.
Cooperative Exercises to Enliven the Senses: Daily Wandering, Foraging, Medicine Making and Organic Arts, Solo-Sit- Spot, Group-Sit- Spot, Observing Bird Language, Cardinal Direction Tag, Drum Stalk (blindfolds), Eagle Eye, You are safe if..., Find the flute player, Observations Journals, String Universe, Build a Sundial, Blindfold Catepillar (single coordinated community), Fish and Otter, Smile Activity (team building), Sand Drawing, Stick Throw, Capture the Flag, Owl and Raven, Deer Ears, Racoon Touch.