Today is Earth Day, a day to celebrate the beauty of the natural world and remember that it is our duty to take care of this place we inhabit. This week, for me, has been an odd juxtaposition of long days of meetings interspersed with intense periods out in nature. Earlier this week I came across a blog post about a new book by Richard Louv. He’s a local author who is known for writing about the need for kids to have experiences in nature (he wrote Last Child in the Woods). His new book, Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life includes 500 ways to connect with nature…and it appeared in our classroom, signed by the author shortly before our field trip to the lagoon on Wednesday.
It is affirming to know that others recognize the powerful learning experiences that occur when kids head outside…and it doesn’t take much in the way of materials to make it happen. And I am reminded that heading outside wasn’t just good for my students, it was good for me and for the other adults too.
We watched lizards, found a beehive (a hole in a rock wall), saw an extraordinary display by some great white egrets, spied a fish (at least a foot long), smelled sage, and were treated to a riot of colorful flowers in less than an hour at the lagoon. Students used binoculars and took field notes…and couldn’t wait to research what they had seen when they got back to the classroom.
To practice, the day before we headed out the garden with the same tools (a notebook and binoculars). In addition the dead crow (eeewwww!), we saw ladybugs and other insects.
We uncovered brilliant red strawberries, observed birds perched on fences and wires, and noticed the delicate laces of plants we don’t know the names of.
And of course tall, stately sunflowers always catch my eye…and in this case directed my attention to the gorgeous clouds in the distance.
I haven’t spent much time at the beach lately, but today, after school I rushed home so we could head back out for a low-tide beach walk. Blue skies, gentle breezes, and mid 60’s temperatures created the perfect backdrop for walking and talking and exploring.
Somehow I managed to forget to bring my camera with me–luckily my phone was in my pocket! I noticed the wet cliff walls (even though the tide was low) and wanted to capture the abstract art quality of them, with the natural sandstone textures above them..
In spite of my crazy schedule this week, I managed a substantial dose of Vitamin N! (And I definitely benefited from the time outdoors and from observing the wonders of the natural world!) So this week’s challenge is to give yourself a shot of vitamin N, head outside and explore a bit of nature around you. What captures your attention?
You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #vitaminN for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
Sometimes we need an excuse to treat ourselves to something wonderful–even when our schedules are feeling compressed and hectic. A dose of Vitamin N might be just what you need! Grab your camera and head outdoors…what wonders will you find? Share your discoveries with us and expand nature’s reach through your lens!