My thoughts on Earth Day…
As educators, parents, and even children’s book authors, we often get quite enthusiastic, and yes, a little preachy, about saving our lovely planet. We can’t help it. We want young children to embrace and share our passion for ecology, conservation, and the natural environment in general. It’s all good, right? Well, of course, but guess what? Some of us, especially those who are very young, get bleary-eyed and bored when a ton of information is relayed. So, let’s take a step back and think. Think about what the young ones of the world can teach US.
Below is a partial list of what I’ve learned from kids I’ve met, kids I’ve taught, and kids I’ve raised:
- Get dirty. It’s impossible to love the Earth if you don’t know what it looks like, feels like, smells like, sounds like, and tastes like.
- Dig. Some of the best stuff is hidden underground. Dig up some veggies, cook them, and eat them.
- Pick. (No, not your nose.) Pick an apple, peach, or pear. Wash it. Eat it on the spot.
- Stare at the ground. There’s great stuff down there by your sneakers! It could be a grassy spot that’s perfect for napping, a decayed tree limb, some gooey mud, a shiny rock, or a rare fossil.
- Look up. Check in with the weather without turning on the TV, your phone, or radio. Predict what weather will occur today.
- Camp. Lean on nature and nature will give you something back.
- Play Follow the Leader. Follow an army of ants, a worm, beetle, butterfly, bird, or turtle. They will take you places.
- Watch a sunrise. Cheer each new day.
- Watch a sunset. Think about how the Earth moves.
- Take a walk. Take a run. Go for a bike ride. Feel the wind on your face.
- Climb a tree or hike up a mountain. Get a new perspective.
- Plant a tree. Give it a name. Make it part of your family.
- Seek out a special place in the yard to call your own. Find peace there.
- Save a slug, help a horseshoe crab, relocate a snake, spider, or mouse. Protect the icky creatures that make Earth special.
- Don’t walk over trash. Pick it up.
- Use cloth bags. Plastic bags tear, and stink up cars, cabinets, lockers, and gym bags.
- Respect the water. Don’t waste it. It’s yummy and a whole lot of fun to play in.
- Be wary, but remember — skunks, snakes, bears, and bees aren’t on a mission to hurt you.
- Wish upon a star. It’s not a waste of time.
- Talk to nature. Join the conversation. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy.