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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Next Generation of Green Connoisseurs

For parents raising children in this day and age, the challenges are incredibly new and different from those just a generation ago. No generation in history has experienced as much technological growth or the increased availability of products that can be purchased to keep our children busy. From video games to television, cell phones to the internet, the children of today are growing up in a world less connected to nature than ever before. As wildlife artist Robert Bateman said, "how can we expect to preserve and protect biodiversity if we don't even know the names of the plants and animals that share our neighbourhood?" With that in mind, many eco-conscious parents are taking on the personal mission of instilling a love of nature onto their children. This is no longer something which will happen inevitably but an active goal for many parents. Earth Easy, a lifestyle magazine, has developed many valuable ideas to help you bring a love of nature to your children.
From the Beginning Even babies can enjoy nature! By introducing the wonderful mysteries of nature, a baby's fascinated gaze can reflect the sky or an animal in a new and exiting way. By going with children on walks outside, you can encourage them to explore their imaginations and experience the joy that is the outdoors.
A Little Older
As your children grow, encourage them to go outdoors to play. You can equip them with tools of observation such as binoculars, wildlife books, or journals to record what they see and what they think. Another great idea is to give your child the responsibility of being an environmental steward for a particular area of land. It could be as small as a yard or a median strip near your house, or as large as a whole neighborhood. The steward duty could be just to observe what happens to that plot of land as the seasons change, or to actually maintain the area by picking up any trash that might accumulate or planting seeds in the area to be an active part of nature. I hope these tips can help you to keep the love of nature alive for the next generation. For more ideas on getting your children engaged outdoors, check out the Children in Nature Collaborative. The next generation of green connoisseurs are growing up in a different world, but with a little energy, a love of nature will not be left behind.

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