Tip 16 - Helping Others to Fall in Love with Nature
Whether you are a Jewish teacher, Jewish camp specialist or a parent, one of the most special things you can do for your young (or older)
ones is help them to fall in love with nature. The last 5 Teva Tips have discussed 5 of the most common fears of nature. If the children (or adults) you work with are afraid of something in the outdoors, take a look at these discussions to get some ideas about what is going on and how to deal with it.
Here are a few tips about how to help others fall in love with nature. We at the Jewish Nature Center believe that people tend to take care of those
things they truly love and cherish.
1. Young children are natural explorers and have an insatiable curiosity. Allow this curiosity to guide you in your work. Some children are
extremely excited to discover little crawling things under rocks while others are not so interested. If you upend a rock and find that your children are so excited that they want to look under every other
rock, shelve whatever plans you had and let them do that. AND THEN, TEACH THEM TO REPLACE THE ROCKS AND TO PICK UP SOME LITTER. ALWAYS TEACH THEM THE "11TH COMMANDMENT – "YOU SHALL LEAVE YOUR PLACE BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT."
2. Do not hesitate to demonstrate your own love for nature. Show excitement, feel the awe and wonder of what is around you. I was doing a
session for Jewish communal professionals when a Bald Eagle flew overhead. I stopped everything and pointed, I jumped up and down, I went half way around the conference center with the participants to keep
watching the eagle. After it flew over, I had a big smile on my face and in my heart. I know the participants felt the excitement - their own and mine. And then, we said the Shehekiyanu Blessing to mark the special nature of the experience.
3. While teaching the names of plants, trees or stars, make it possible for your participants to establish a more "personal relationship" by
discovering their own names for these things. The Shagbark Hickory is called the Shedding Tree by one of my young students. Another discovered the "Triangle Constellation." Yet another renamed
the Stinging Nettle the "Bite Me Plant."
4. Don't hesitate to place "props" along trails you plan to hike or in school fields you plan to explore. So what if you don't have the lushest
natural area in which to take your students hiking– MAKE the area exciting. Place items such as animal bones, interesting rocks, fossils, beaver-chewed tree limbs, leaves, etc. in open or partially
obscured areas for your students to discover. Collect these items as you hike. Later, you can decide whether to reveal the secret that you placed the items to be found.