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Raising Resilient, Aware, Nature Stewards

Happy Wednesday Watershed Explorers,

This quotation popped up in my email this morning and it is too good not to share. It is geared more towards parents but I know many of my explorers will understand it as well. It was written by Nicolette Sowder who is the creator of Wilder Child, a website intended for parents looking to provide their children with more outdoor learning opportunities. The quotation read, "May we raise children who love the unloved things – the dandelion, the worms and spiderlings. Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards sun… And when they’re grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the ones."

Children need nature just as much as nature needs children. The bonds that are built when children are young follow them into adulthood. Almost every person with a strong connection to nature as an adult, has a story of how that connection was built in childhood. Children need to learn to love nature so that they can protect it in the future. This love is built through experiences in nature. It is easy to make excuses for why children don't get outside enough, the weather doesn't cooperate, activities get in the way, as parents we have other priorities and we may not feel comfortable letting our children go outdoors alone. These are completely understandable challenges, however, I find it so sad that a study completed in 2018 showed that children are only spending an average of 4 hours outside a week. While alternatively, they are spending 8-10 hours a day in front of a screen. Aside from building a connection with nature, unstructured outdoor play helps children learn resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly when difficulty strikes. Unstructured outdoor play allows children to create their own experiences and find their own solutions when faced with problems. As much as I understand the challenges that we face as parents in getting our children this beneficial time in nature, I still find it imperative to ask, don't we owe it to them to do so? Knowing how much is at stake, I urge all parents, especially those of my extremely special Watershed Explorers, to provide as many natural opportunities as possible.

Everyone benefits from time spent with nature, so why not enjoy nature as a whole family!

I hope you will find a way as the quotation suggested to enjoy the rainy days just as much as those filled with sun. Nature is wonderful, and we could all use a little wonder these days.

Much love,

Mrs. Morissette

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