These challenging times we’re in also give us an opportunity for new ways of spending time in or with the natural world. Individuals, groups and families spending lock down together have been enjoying the Spring time weather as we emerge from such a wet winter! More than ever people have been watching nature; their gardens grow, hedgehogs looking for food, a bird singing on a balcony, a walk in the woods, sitting under a tree or even watching the meteor showers. All these things require …….slowing……. down.
I am inspired by the amount of grown ups really slowing down with the young people they live with and enjoying the natural world together.
As someone who is either leading Forest School or walking and gardening; I have been reflecting on why and how I became so inspired by the natural world when my first ten years of life were spent in a huge sprawling city. In short, I’ve realised what a massive impact the compassion my parents showed towards nature and animals had on me. The smallest actions like saving a honey bee stuck in the window, picking up a woodlouse who wondered inside and putting it outside, helping an injured bird or leaving part of our little garden to grow wild for insects. This can be described as their modelled behaviour.
Often people get caught up in thinking they need to know the names of plants or animals or how things work. What we actually need to do is demonstrate a curiosity ourselves, so when a child asks “ How does a bird fly?” You could answer “ That’s a great question! How do you think a bird flies?” and then have a really exciting conversation, which might include some less than scientific ideas! But you will have inspired an inner curiosity about the natural world that will stay with them forever.
So over the next few weeks I would like to go on a journey with you, of re-imagining a connectness with and a curiosity about nature or, if you are a child finding new ways to explore nature.
Until next time a question: what is your earliest positive memory of the natural world? Why do you enjoy that memory..can you describe it?
Author: Eve Malster, Enterprise support worker (The Outdoors School)
Date: 15th May 2020