Teaching our Children to Appreciate Nature
As a parent, teaching our children to appreciate nature may not be a top priority, or even something that we’ve thought about. Many of us take nature for granted, ourselves. If you live in an urban area, you may have limited experience with nature and may not have a full grasp of its importance or admiration for its wonders.
Those of us who grew up in more rural areas may be under the impression that not much has changed and that there’s nothing really to be concerned about. And yet, ecologists have a different story to tell and we should all have a vested interest. Some of the top environmental concerns we should be aware of are as follows[ref]List of 30 Top Environmental Concerns[/ref]:
- Contamination of drinking water
- General water pollution (which affects fish and other marine life)
- Soil contamination
- Air pollution
- Wildlife endangerment / extinction
Whether we realize it or not, we are all affected by the health of this little blue planet we call home. It is incumbent on us, as parents, to educate the next generation (our children) to appreciate and treasure the environment and the natural resources we rely upon. Teaching our children about nature and teaching kids conservation is vital to our future.
Experience Flora and Fauna with your Children
One of the best ways to get your kids interested in conservation, ecology and the environment is to provide them with first-hand experiences with nature. Here are a few ways you can instill these values in your children:
- Go for bike rides, picnics or hikes in the country (or nature preserves) with your children.
- Visit a zoo, petting zoo, aquarium or botanical garden with your kids.
- Bring a camera and capture pictures of the plants and animals that you observe.
- Go boating, camping or fishing with your children.
- Take up a hobby pertaining to nature with your kids: e.g., bird watching, gardening or setting up an aquarium.
- Read about nature and the environment with your children.
- Keep a nature journal or encourage your child’s artistic talent to draw landscapes and/or wildlife.
All of these activities are great ways to spend a relaxing day and bond with your children. These activities will help create lasting memories and food for thought and discussion with your kids. Once your children have developed an understanding and appreciation for nature, it will be much easier to teach your kids about biodiversity and help instill in them a concern for wildlife conservation.
Cultivate an Appreciation for Nature
Your child may not be the next Jacques Cousteau. They may not be a marine biologist or a wildlife photographer for National Geographics. However, it is almost inevitable that their lives will be impacted in many ways by nature and they may very well find themselves either directly or indirectly involved in finding ways to better preserve and conserve our natural resources.
From governments to large corporations, more of an emphasis than ever is being placed on ecology and the environment. With the earth’s population expanding, it is imperative that we learn to be better stewards of the earth’s many resources, including its flora and fauna (i.e., its vast variety of plant and animal species), with an enhanced understanding of the delicate balances that exist in nature.
The generation of tomorrow will be heavily invested in the following endeavors, to name a few:
- Increased fuel efficiency
- Clean, renewable fuel sources
- Water purification and conservation
- “Green” manufacturing processes
- Wildlife protection
- Improved forestry management
- Sustainable agricultural practices
Many of us tend to take for granted things like fresh drinking water, uncontaminated fruits and vegetables, fish and other meat sources, etc. We don’t consider the fact that this planet has a finite amount of natural resources. Raising our children to understand and appreciate nature and teaching them the importance of conservation will help them find their roles in preserving the Earth’s wonders and resources for future generations.
Take time to explore and enjoy nature with your kids!
-Patrick @ FamilyStaples.com