Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

"Much of environmental education today has taken on a museum mentality, where nature is a composed exhibit on the other side of the glass. Children can look at it and study it, but they can’t do anything with it. The message is: Nature is fragile. Look, but don’t touch. Ironically, this “take only photographs, leave only footprints” mindset crops up in the policies and programs of many organizations trying to preserve the natural world and cultivate children’s relationships to it. . . 

"Between the ages of six and twelve, children have an innate desire to explore the woods, build forts, make potions from wild berries, dig to China, and each of these activities is an organic, natural way for them to develop environmental values and behaviors. Instead, the “look but don’t touch” approach cuts kids off from nature, teaching them that nature is boring and fraught with danger. Inadvertently, these messages send children back inside to the dynamic interactivity of computer games. Could it be that our fear of litigation and our puritanical concerns for protecting each and every blade of grass are hampering the development of the very stewardship values and behaviors that we environmental educators all say we’re trying to foster? I believe so."
- David Sobel, in Orion Magazine. [We all need to read, and re-read this article, and then let our kids play in the woods - and lead them there to play if necessary. And remember and share how we played, hunted, fished, caught crayfish, got wet and muddy, and learned to love this earth and its creatures.]


  1. My mother never told me "Don't touch."

    She merely told me, "Wash your hands afterwards."

    Worked for me!

  2. You are correct, I always thought that my love for things natural, came as a child while floating sticks in the creek, climbing trees and building 'homes for creatures' in fishtanks in my backyard!