TAG: Nature

Environmental Education

Learning outside the classroom

Environmental education (EE) provides opportunities for students to learn in natural environments. Instead of sitting in classrooms listening to teachers talk, children in EE programs participate in hands-on activities at local rivers, city parks, urban gardens, and other natural spaces. EE teachers use the features of natural environments to teach science, math, language arts, social studies, history, and other subjects. Instead of imparting facts in isolation, EE situates learning within the context of real-world places and issues to make it meaningful for students. Fresh air and exercise are added bonuses. Research summarized by the Place-Based Education Evaluation Cooperative has shown… read more

A Pilgrim’s Way

Montserrat monastry

I had been hiking for hours and I knew I was lost. The ascent of Montserrat near the Spanish village of El Bruc was arduous but to this point there had only been one path. Now I stood some eight hundred meters above the plains below and had to choose between three paths. “Stay on the trail”, I had been told by my host. But which trail? Left? Right? Straight ahead? The finger-like rock formations of Montserrat were known to be treacherous. Alone, and with diminishing water, I needed help to find my way across the mountaintop. My goal was… read more

Still Reliant on Nature

Travelling for traditional medicine

Traditional medicine is still used in many African communities in the present day. The blending of numerous herbs is usually a science not recorded in text books, but passed on from one traditional healer to another through either apprenticeships or informal training. Although western medicine is available in most communities, there are still people who prefer to use traditional medicine for many reasons including religious beliefs and economic circumstances. As mentioned above, traditional healers generally do not have any form of formal training. However the process of blending the medicine they use is quite complex in that it involves a… read more

The Child in Nature

Childhood memories

As a child, I spent much of my time outdoors and discovered an early fascination with the nonhuman world. It became the site for rich imaginings and great adventures. And it was home to the animals who became my friends, my confidants, the creatures whose comings and goings showed me many truths about life and death. Growing up in New Zealand, I lived with my grandparents on a 12 acre farm in the Waikato, central North Island. I was surrounded by farm animals – sheep and cattle, pigs, chooks, rabbits, cats and dogs. It was a simultaneously beautiful and brutal… read more

Mother Nature’s Children

Children living with nature

“I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are” (A fourth-grader in San Diego, cited in Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods”) As a young child, I spent most of my days living and playing outdoors. I lived part-time with my grandparents on a small farm in the Waikato, then a rich agricultural region in the central north island of New Zealand. Days were spent playing in the fields, navigating elephant grass, and no doubt tormenting the fowl and pigs and lambs and calves that I considered my best friends at that time. I… read more

Keeping Arts & Crafts Alive

Swaziland's arts and crafts

Arts and crafts constitute the most popular tourist attraction in Swaziland. Tourists from lands near and far are a regular sighting at the many market places shopping for Swazi culture inspired souvenirs to take back home after their holiday is done. The traditional arts community relies heavily on the natural environment to create their art pieces. Many of these art pieces are made from raw materials found in nature such as trees, clay soil, animal hide, different types of grass, and varying types of stone. Like all manufacturers and producers that rely heavily on nature for their products, the art… read more