From the fine folks at Scouting Magazine. Pop over and take the quiz, and then `fess up — how did you do?
This PSA campaign from the U.S. Forest Service aims to inspire tweens and their parents to re-connect with nature, experiencing it first-hand. The campaign brings to life the joy and excitement kids have when they discover the wonders of nature, helping create interest in their environment and a lifelong relationship with it.
Nature gives teens the ability to explore, use their imagination, discover new animals and plants, and engage in adventurous play. Being in nature frees them from their crazy, scheduled days and offers the ability to get lost in something totally unmanaged, unexpected and utterly surprising. Nature instills a peace and calmness that they can’t experience in their daily lives, and the more they discover the natural world around them, the more they will feel connected to the world and better understand their relationship to it.
Integrate the wonder of our forests into your Troop programming. Developed in tandem with the Discover the Forest PSA campaign, Finding My Forest provides tools for educators to re-connect students with nature. The site offers a downloadable curriculum and the opportunity to connect with other “forest friends.”
The forest and the outdoors are a place for adventure, learning, fun, and discovery! There are so many possibilities. It might be tough deciding where to begin. Check out these games and activities, which can help get you going. Plenty of additional learning sites available, too.
It took a bit to decide how to describe this site, because it has several interesting features.
Nature’s Notebook is collecting data on when and where plants and animals are observed throughout the country. You can see where sightings have been made, map where species are found, correlate climate data, and explore the timeline of a species’ presence in your area.
Best of all, you can help!
- Visualization Tool
- Training Slides
- How to Observe
- Want an indoor way to participate? You can help transcribe historical data, too.
- Education materials are available, too.
There are so many ways you could incorporate this into your Troop programming. Use the visualization tool as part of the Plant Science or Zoology badges. Turn a campout or hike into an observation day (Women Scientists?). Organizing a larger observation effort might make for a good Harriet Tubman, Dolley Madison, or Stars and Stripes project. What other ideas do you have?
This essay is about our conversion, as a family. It’s about how we decided that we had a gift, this connectedness to nature. What do we do? Mostly, we invite families to join us as we explore our favorite nature spots around San Diego. We get them organized. We show them the cool places to go. We get nature back on their calendar, literally. We become their nature buddies, modelled after the gym buddy system. These days, it seems, you have to schedule nature and make a date with someone else. We invite, beg, cajole, and, mostly (we hope) inspire them to get out there—with us, with others, or as a family. Just get out there is our motto. And while we are out there, we try to mentor families to follow their children’s lead, to foster the natural sense of wonder and awe that comes so easily to kids.
C&NN Nature Clubs for Families Tool Kit: Do It Yourself! Do It Now! provides inspiration, information, tips and resources for those who are—or who might be—interested in creating a Nature Club for Families. Download the Tool Kit.
Most destinations have some sort of Boy Scout/Girl Scout program available — but nothing customized for AHG!
The organizations we have talked to have been more than willing – eager, even – to work with us to develop a plan for our girls. The Kansas Cosmosphere and the Omaha Zoo, for example, have already created outstanding programs for our Troops. Others — the Beanstalk Children’s Garden, IBEX Climbing Gym, CoCoKey Water Park — have expressed strong interest, as well. They just need someone to talk with about our needs and wishes, our requirements and rules.
Could you be that person? This is work that could be done on your schedule, from your own home. Emails and phone calls, perhaps an occasional backstage tour — is it for you?
Contact us to discuss the opportunity!
Short on Vitamin N? Here’s a brief list of nature activities to help you connect your kids, and yourself, to the health and cognitive benefits of nature time. (For a more complete collection of 100 actions, for families, schools, and communities see Last Child in the Woods, from which the following suggestions are drawn.)
- Invite native flora and fauna into your life. Maintain a birdbath. Replace part of your lawn with native plants. Build a bat house. For backyard suggestions, plus links to information about attracting wildlife to apartments and townhouses, see the National Audubon Society’s Invitation to a Healthy Yard. Make your yard a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Certified Wildlife Habitat.
- Revive old traditions. Collect lightning bugs at dusk, release them at dawn. Make a leaf collection. Keep a terrarium or aquarium. Go crawdadding — tie a piece of liver or bacon to a string, drop it into a creek or pond, wait until a crawdad tugs. Put the garden hose to good use: make a mud hole. (Your kids will sleep well later.)