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“Nature makes children happier, science shows”
By David G. Allan and Kristen Rogers, CNN
As my wife, daughters and I hiked through the woods at one of the many state parks near our home, I explained to them how we were doing three things that were simultaneously boosting our happiness at that moment.
First, we were getting exercise, a proven mood booster. Second, we were spending quality time with loved ones, long associated with life happiness in surveys. And third, we were in nature. A hike in the woods is a trifecta of joy, and all it took was making this modest effort.
Our weekend hikes always put us in a better head space, even when its rainy or muddy, even when the kids get pooped, and even when they complain in advance of going. Once we are on the trail a switch is flipped. It is unfiltered adventure, discovery, connection and beauty. We are demonstratively happier.
Research that is more scientific than my small experiment, backs up the mood I consistently recorded. My colleague Kristen Rogers did some exploring of her own and made discoveries about where the nature and happiness trails meet.
Much of the research on how engaging with nature impacts eco-friendly behaviors and happiness has been focused on adults. But in a study published Wednesday in the journal Frontiers in Psychology*, researchers examined the impact of a group of children’s “connectedness to nature” on their sustainable behaviors and happiness. * Follow link to this research and more: https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/1948/nature-and-environment-the-psychology-of-its-benefits-and-its-protection#articles
This kinship with nature was defined by researchers as a “characteristic of human beings that refers to thinking and feeling emotionally connected with all the elements of the natural environment, with feeling happier as a consequence.” In a classroom in a Mexican city, nearly 300 children between ages of 9 and 12 responded to a questionnaire that measured their link to nature, eco-friendly behaviors and happiness.
The researchers found children who felt connected to nature — feeling pleasure when seeing wildflowers and animals, hearing sounds of nature — engaged in altruism, or actions that helped other people. These children actively cared for the environment by recycling, reusing objects and saving water. They were also more likely to say they believed in equality among sexes, races and socioeconomic conditions. Finally, these children scored high on a happiness scale, too.
Previous research has found such behaviors are correlated with conduct that aids in caring for the planet during a time of environmental crises, which sets up these children to be future custodians of nature, the researchers suggested. “They are future consumers of products, entrepreneurs, decision-makers, workers, and depending on the environmental education received, their connection with nature, environmental awareness and environmental values are the future of the environment, too,” said Dr. Laura Barrera-Hernández, author of the study and professor at the Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora in Mexico.
“Children need role models … who can gently guide them to nature with excitement, optimism and an attitude of a lifelong learner,” said Miyuki Maruping, a gardening teacher at the Waldorf School of Atlanta, who wasn’t involved in the research. Waldorf education emphasizes arts, imagination, movement and nature. “Forest kindergartens,” offered at various locations around the country, provide gardening, nature walks and hikes and other outside opportunities for three hours a day, rain or shine. “We don’t have to be experts in environmental science or nature studies. What’s more important is that we spend time together with children by exploring curiosity in a fun and safe environment,” Maruping said.
And it’s not just kids. A 2015 study showed that people who take walks in nature report less repetitive negative thoughts. And a government health service in Scotland is so convinced of the mental and physical health benefits of nature it is encouraging doctors to give “nature prescriptions” to help treat high blood pressure, anxiety and depression.
“Many studies are showing that even passive interactions with nature give back to us by healing us of problems with stress, anxiety and helping us to focus better,” said Dr. Tina Cade, a professor of horticulture at Texas State University, who wasn’t involved in the research. “Other studies have shown that active participation in gardens can help children eat better, get more exercise, have better attitudes toward school and interpersonal relationships,” Cade said.
Nature is the answer:
When I [David] was in college I made my first pilgrimage to Walden Pond. It’s the famous body of water in Concord, Massachusetts surrounded by woods, where Henry David Thoreau lived in deliberate communion with nature and wrote a book about it titled “Walden.” Thoreau was part of an intellectual Transcendentalist movement in the early to mid-1800s. The group, which included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott’s father, Bronson, espoused a progressive political agenda that included environmental conservation and raised nature to a spiritual plane.
For the Transcendentalists, the meaning and power of trees, water and wind “transcended” the mere senses. Getting in touch with the natural environment is a “tonic” that will cure what ails your soul, they believed. Our souls are just parts of Nature’s greater “Oversoul.”
By deliberately bringing our daughters into nature, my wife and I are connecting them to something greater than the individual elements of the outdoors, something deeper than the average afternoon experience. In nature, we’re giving them answers to the fundamental questions of reality.
And that makes me happy.
Canadian Geographic Magazine: Sept/ Oct 2019
“The Ultimate Canadian Geography Quiz: Photo Edition”
A few of the questions from the Article on Page 37 by Nick Walker. If you get the magazine from a newstand or the library, you can win great prizes by entering your answers online.
Answers to these questions:
# 7: c) Ice cap. Caps are smaller than ice sheets.
# 8: c) Argentina
# 13: b) 8: Canada, United States [Alaska], Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland [Isl. of Grimsey], Greenland
# 14: c) On the Siberian side of the geographic North Pole
# 15: c) 12%. Ile de Montréal is the most populous island
# 24: c) Edinburgh, Scotland
From last July :
to this July :
To read the article, go to: http://projects.thestar.com/climate-change-canada/what-you-can-do/
May 3rd: Salmon fry released by
Students from Bayside Middle School (grade 7), and Keating Elementary School (grades 4/5).
Notes from Julie Proulx, Teacher, Bayside Middle:
“There are several schools that have these salmon raising projects, but this project was run entirely by the students.
They took great care to ensure the health of their salmon throughout the four month project, and were proud of their achievements.
The pairing of these two classes made valuable connections for students of both classes for their transition to Bayside Middle School next year.
The grade 5’s feel more comfortable about coming to Bayside next year, and the grade 7’s appreciated the opportunity for leadership.”
May 2nd Prospect Lake Elementary School
Salmon Fry release into Wray Creek
8 Eye-Opening Ways Kids Benefit from Experiences with Nature
article by Christopher Bergland [on web site Psychology Today]
“The question-answer format of the paper’s title encapsulates the research question and findings of this systematic review: “Do Experiences With Nature Promote Learning? Converging Evidence of a Cause-and-Effect Relationship.” This critical review was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
- “Do experiences with nature—from wilderness backpacking to plants in a preschool, to a wetland lesson on frogs—promote learning?
- Report after report—from independent observers as well as participants themselves—indicate shifts in perseverance, problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, teamwork, and resilience. Similarly, over fifty studies point to nature playing a key role in the development of pro-environmental behavior, particularly by fostering an emotional connection to nature.”
The above is cut and paste, for the complete articles, see these links:
Reasons Wetlands are Important
Wetlands are amazing ecosystems and there are a number of reasons wetlands are important.
They are meant to be preserved not destroyed.
<—- This poster is great, it doesn’t enlarge well. If you go to the link below you can view it clearly:
Soils in different environments:
Run Salmon Run
Salmonid Enhancement Program
The Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) plays a key role in DFO’s work to conserve and manage Pacific salmon stocks. The program’s activities aim to rebuild vulnerable salmon stocks, provide harvest opportunities, work with First Nations and coastal communities in economic development, and improve fish habitat to sustain salmon populations.
From Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) Tod Creek Enhancement Plan unpublished DRAFT:
- “The Watershed: Tod Creek is 5.75km long. It drains Prospect Lake and enters Saanich Inlet via Tod Inlet. It is a third order stream with four other lakes, Durance, Heal, Kilarney and Maltby draining into it… The watershed is also made up of a number of small streams, tributaries and wetland springs.”
- we will provide a link to the published plan when available.
Stream order is a measure of the relative size of streams. The smallest tributaries are referred to as first-order streams, while the largest river in the world, the Amazon, is a twelfth-order waterway. First- through third-order streams are called headwater streams.
Nov 18th 2018: Times Colonist Article
Pity the words that have flown from dictionary – so unnatural by Jack Knox:
“You don’t often see a real bird’s nest used as a Christmas tree decoration. Or a real bird’s skull. Ditto for conkers, acorns, brambles and heather, or ivy strung as garland. It’s as though they trimmed this tree by dragging it through a Berenstain Bears book.
The conifer in question is up on the third floor of the Bay Centre, part of the Festival of Trees, the annual B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser. Of the 81 other entries on display through Jan. 7, none is quite like the one decorated by the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.
Its theme is The Lost Words, the title of a lavishly illustrated large-format “book of spells” that became a surprise
bestseller in Europe last year after being written for the oddest of reasons: to preserve nature-related words that got booted from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.
This goes back to 2007, when the editors of that dictionary — a shortish, kid-friendly version — updated it by A) adding modern words commonly spoken by young people, and B) weeding out ones that analysis showed they seldom used. In came techie terms such as “blog” and “cut and paste” and “broadband.” Among the words going out were 40 from the natural world: buttercup, kingfisher, bluebell, wren, willow, otter …
When British nature writer Robert Macfarlane and painter Jackie Morris pushed back with The Lost Words, a book based on 20 of those 40 excised terms, it was seen as a protest against not just the fading place of nature among the language of youth, but the loss of the natural world itself. The book took off, was labelled an instant classic — a “cultural phenomenon,” declared the Guardian.
Among those captivated by The Lost Words (just released in Canada this fall) were the people at the Saanich nature reserve. Hence the Christmas tree decorations incorporating the 20 words from the book: the wren nest, a raven’s skull, a heron feather, chestnuts, ivy, heather, a couple of newts (OK, the newts are fake). The adornments were fashioned by executive director Kathleen Burton and Swan Lake volunteers, using materials found within the sanctuary itself. “You only have to step on the grounds to find the ferns,” Burton says.
In fact, 17 of the 20 items named in the book can be found there, Burton says. “They’re not gone. They’re relevant to nature and they’re relevant to teaching children about nature.”
So, yes, it rankled to learn the words had disappeared from the dictionary. “It’s like making something extinct before its time,” Burton said. The Christmas tree decorations can be taken as a subtle, gentle form of protest (as well as a way to nudge shoppers across Government Street to Munro’s Books, which is donating $8 from every sale of The Lost Words to the nature sanctuary).
The Canadian Press recently quoted Macfarlane as saying the fault isn’t really that of the dictionary’s publisher, which was just following a policy of including and excluding words based on the frequency of their use. “Blaming a dictionary for telling us how we use language is like blaming a barometer for telling us we’ve got bad weather on the way. It just records the pressure, and the pressures at the moment are that children are thinking less about nature.”
Dictionaries frequently update themselves to reflect shifting times. In October, the Oxford English Dictionary’s latest quarterly revision stretched to 1,400 changes, including the addition of alt right, microbead, uncheck, lumbersexual, douchebaggery and bum crack.
In September, Merriam-Webster revealed 840 new entries, several of them driven by technological change — biohacking, Instagramming, airplane mode,
force quit. Also added were hangry (as in a Snickers commercial),
bingeable (as in Netflix), time suck (also Netflix) and TL;DR (shorthand for “too long; didn’t read”).”
May 25th School Tour of the Watershed:
these photos are from the tours we hosted at Whitehead Park.
15 April, 2016: Students from Bayside Middle School (grade 7), and Keating Elementary School (grades 2/3).
Students release their Coho into Tod Creek, at Whitehead Park.
Watershed Model Salmon Lifecycle and Alder Tree Program [Grade 3]
Since 2006, Gr. 3 students in SD63 have actively participated in watershed model activities, salmon life-cycle education, growing alder trees for riparian zone restoration, stream-side planting, and raising and releasing salmon fry.
This program is delivered to nine schools in the SD 63 (Saanich) region. These include Deep Cove, Sidney, Brentwood, Prospect Lake, Cordova Bay, Lochside, Keating, Kelset and the LAU WELNEW tribal school.
Every year the program is delivered to almost 500 students in total.
Creatures of Habitat – Days of Action
In 2009, Peninsula Streams Society, in partnership with a team of concerned community members, created an environmental education program for Gr. 6 students. We called it “Creatures of Habitat – Days of Action” to reflect the program’s emphasis on proactivity in the face of our environmental challenges.
Every year since, we have brought a “Day of Action” to middle schools all over the Peninsula and into Saanich. With our team of volunteers, workshop providers and theatre crew, we engage over 500 Gr. 6 students/year in environmental restoration activities, interactive theatre and workshops.
In various years, we’ve delivered the program to North Saanich, Bayside, Royal Oak, Glanford and, for the first time in April 2014, Colquitz Middle School.
To date, 3100 students have participated in “Creatures of Habitat”~!
Young Naturalists’ Club of B.C.
YNC is an exciting nature discovery and environmental action program that invites young people ages 5-12 years to discover nearby nature on Explorer Day Adventures with local experts, learn about native wildlife and plants in NatureWILD Magazine and take part in environmental actions to protect their habitat with Stewardship Projects and an Action Awards Quest.
The YNC is a registered charity, powered by passionate volunteers, members and donors. Join the Club! Become a member, subscribe to NatureWILD, or make a donation today.
YNC Passport to Nature
When a family takes out a membership every child is issued a pocket sized Passport to Nature with six event tickets together with their new member pack.
The purpose of the Passport is to encourage and recognize participation in outdoor nature events, whether sponsored by YNC or some other group such as Cubs and Brownies, school field trips, park programs, community clean-up, etc. Please bring your Passport to Nature to Explorer Days and other outdoor nature events.
Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society: Preservation Through Education
To excite school-aged youth and inspire them to care for the environment through our education programs.
To provide direct restoration of wildlife habitat.
To actively engage our communities in ongoing environmental stewardship.
Photo: from the Biofacts Gallery on NWPS site.
What We Do: We introduce children and adults to the wonders of the natural world in order to encourage an enduring respect for wildlife and wildlife spaces.
Preservation: Through educational and stewardship activities, NWPS is working towards preserving wildlife and wildlife habitat for their own intrinsic worth and for the appreciation of all.
Stewardship Programs: These programs develop an awareness about the ecosystem and impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitat. Through coordinated stewardship activities, youth are able to work toward preserving the environment.
Education Programs: NWPS reaches schools throughout B.C. with our own unique environmental education and habitat stewardship programs. Our target population is school-aged youth and we reach an average of 7,500 individuals annually through our programs, newsletters and communications.
Awareness: Our Green Ribbon Campaign aims to raise visibility and awareness about wildlife, wildlife habitat and environmental issues in our communities, as well as provide a means to support environmental preservation.
Learn more at: http://northwestwildlife.com