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.
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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.
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.)
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We happened upon this product testimonial recently. It sounds very interesting — those foil “space blankets” in the emergency kit have always seemed rather flimsy, and tarps are a trusty camping standby, so why not combine the two?
First let me get this straight, this is not one of those flimsy tin foil emergency blankets. What is it? An all weather space blanket is half tarp and half emergency blanket. On one side it is a tarp that comes in an array of colors. On the other side is a shinny foil – kind of like a durable emergency blanket. Just like the emergency blankets these provide you 90% of your body heat back, and are rain and wind resistant.
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What do you think? Is it worth a try?
Think you’re pretty current on your outdoors emergency and first aid training? Looking for a way to see just how much your girls have really learned? Check out the Case Studies collection from the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute!
Provided for people considering training in a variety of Wilderness Medicine certifications, each case study provides a real life scenario and relevant patient assessment data, then asks the reader to arrive at a likely diagnosis and create a treatment plan. This would be very well suited for discussion with a small group of Pioneer/Patriot girls, or as an extension activity for adult leader training, too.