In this space I hope to post frequently regarding what’s happening in nature on the North Shore. These posts are meant to be informative but will also include anecdotes, and most likely, a lot of personal opinions. Hopefully they all will be interesting.
But today, I’d like to focus on why I decided to start North Shore Nature Programs.
The short (and glib) answer is that I want to save the world. But frankly that sounds pompous and a little too recent-college-graduate-ish. What I do want to do is expose as many people to nature as I can in a way that is comfortable for them. I’m not under the illusion that everyone needs to walk barefoot through the woods and eat wild edibles (although some are very tasty). But I do believe that it’s vital for everyone to have a basic understanding of the natural world and how we are inextricably linked to our environment.
It’s undeniable that humans have a large, and predominantly negative, impact on our environment. It’s also undeniable that we depend on our environment for almost everything we need to survive (air, food, and water being the big three). We’ve become so disconnected from nature that we often degrade it at our own expense. I believe that environmental education can help reconnect people to nature.
The goal of North Shore Nature Programs is to provide educational programming that exposes individuals (primarily children) to the wonders of nature. I firmly believe that if children are frequently allowed to explore their immediate outdoor surroundings, they will be more inclined to protect the environment as they get older. Research has shown that the largest factor in determining attitudes and behaviors in adults towards the environment is their exposure to nature as children. Those adults who spent lots of time exploring outside as kids, tend to be on the forefront of environmental protection.
In this day and age of overscheduled children, increased homework, and busy parents, children have less and less time to explore nature during their free time. That is why North Shore Nature Programs focuses on schools. Our Naturalist-in-Residence program allows us to partner with schools to provide multiple outdoor experiences for students that enrich the current school curriculum. All too often, environmental education takes the form of a once-a-year field trip. Students are bussed to an unfamiliar area, get led around a trail, and then are back at the bus an hour later. We believe that a model of multiple, on-site visits provide a more meaningful and lasting experience. Students are able to venture beyond the four walls of the classroom and explore familiar areas, teachers learn how to incorporate schoolyard nature into their lessons, and administrators are able to reap the benefits of stimulated, engaged students without the expense of an off-site field trip.
While much of our programing is geared towards schools, we also hope to offer an array of programs that appeal to our immediate community. If you are the leader of a homeschool or scout group and are interested in a great outdoor experience, let us know. The same goes for any individual or group in the community. We are excited to share our knowledge and love of nature.
Thanks for checking in and next time I’ll have some cool nature facts, stories, or pictures to share.