“Man always kills the thing he loves. And so we the pioneers have killed our wilderness. Some say we had to. Be that as it may, I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in.” – Aldo Leopold
As the school year ends, I was asked to help out with several elementary schools for the end of the year outdoor events. Yesterday, I helped with the third graders at a local school- 150 of them!!! For all you teachers out there, I commend you, one day with them I was exhausted! I have worked with smaller groups of children with 4-H, boy scouts and such but not a group this big. It was great to see the children so excited about trees and conservation, we have to get them excited about the environment at a young age in hopes they continue to grow up with a conservation mindset.
I chose the quote at the beginning of this entry because first off Aldo is amazing and secondly because the quote says it all, the children I was with Friday are young in a time where they can not always be “young in the wild”. Times have even changed since I was young. I always spent my days outside in the woods running around and exploring and coming in once it was dark- kids today cannot do that. Which is basically what Aldo Leopold is saying here, he is glad he is not young “today” because it is not the same wild country where kids can go outside and be safe playing enjoying nature like we used to. We have also expanded in a way where children are growing up in more urban environments where the backyard is fenced in with little adventure.
Working with the third graders was fun, intimidating, but fun! A lot of little kids starring at you is intimidating!! We talked about conservation, how trees grow, the difference between a deciduous and coniferous trees and then did a fun little recycling project! Every time, I said deciduous tree they looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language! Some of them knew about economics but trees was a foreign language! Yes, economics is important- but trees are life too!! One young boy told me that deciduous trees are the ones that are hollow, another said the difference is their bark! Hopefully, now they know the difference. For the recycling project we had some fun, I wanted to keep the kids entertained so we used red pine cones to make little critters! Gave them all a chance to be artsy and crazy while learning about pine cones and enjoying nature in a way that will hopefully stick with them!
Conservation- preserve, protect, guard –Mother nature for future generations