A bookclub ,
started online to commemorate the 100 aniversary of Rachel Carson's birth, has posed a couple of questions that are of interest.
First question...Rachel who?
It seemed strange to me that a person that writes and speaks of Rachel Carson would meet so many people that did not really know about Rachel Carson's work. Her question was why so many seemed to know so little.
So what do people know about Rachel Carson? I guess that is a question I will be asking in the days ahead. How about you? Do you remember Silent Spring?
Second question...How does one’s first consciousness of nature abide, and what difference did it make in Carson’s ability to observe and to see the "contamination of nature," and to try to "do something about it?"
Rachel Carson grew up near the Allegheny River which went from fishing country to industrial country with all its pollutions . A brilliant woman that became a scientist and an ardent ecologist, we wonder,did watching these changes and the acceptance of the industries [ by local people whose income and lifestyle depended on said industry] that were the major cause of the contamination, develope an awareness that demanded action?
I do not know the answers. Certainly one would hope that getting to know the wonders of nature at a young age would develope an affection for the places where fond memories are formed. With maturity and knowledge these places of nature would become important to preserve so that these qualities in the land are not lost. At least this is the theory.
But what about urban children with little experience of wildlife or green and growing places?
Can an adult suddenly awed by a new experience develope the same caring activism?
What does this mean to our children and their care?
The following statements are made at the Child care exchange ...
In an excellent summary of the three day Working Forum on Nature Education for Young Children, which took place at the Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska late in October, Dana Friedman shares these reasons why early childhood educators should be promoting nature education...
By exposing children to nature, we're giving them a gift of a faithful, life-long friend.
It provides life-changing, shaping memories.
It offers a sense of peace and reconnecting to nature.
Nature has a therapeutic quality — it is calming.
The natural world supports the development of caring, pro-social behavior.
How we relate to nature gives us lessons about how we relate to each other.
It can serve as a force for change, for peace.
It fosters self-regulation and learning.
Nature develops understanding of oneself.
It brings out the best in children.
Nature helps children with disabilities, particularly those with sensory integration deficit.
Children's pretend play outdoors in natural settings tends to be more complex/therapeutic than indoors.
Play and interaction with the natural environment and materials helps develop cognitive, social, and emotional skills.
Nature is crucial for total development of the whole child, regardless of stage, ability, or problem.
I'm not sure if all of this is true. I am sure that being outdoors, in a place where plants and natures other living beings are in abundance can be a very good thing. The Mr and I make sure the children in our lives help to grow food for ourselves and the wildlife in our very urban setting. We take them camping, hiking and to local conservatories, parks and nature preserves.
Even if all the above proves unreliable it its effect on the futures of our young, all our lives have been enriched by these outdoor adventures.
EJ Magazine is one of the only student-produced magazine about
environmental issues in the country and is published by the Knight Center
for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University.