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Teaching Kids to Love the Earth

Marina Lachecki
Joseph F. Passineau
Ann Linnea
Paul Treuer
Illustrations by Carolyn Olson
Copyright Date: 1991
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Teaching Kids to Love the Earth
    Book Description:

    Teaching Kids to Love the Earth is a collection of 186 earth-caring activities designed for use with children of all ages to help them experience and appreciate the earth. This book leads you through the authors’ Sense of Wonder Circle: curiosity, exploration, discovery, sharing, and passion. Each chapter contains a story, instructions for a main activity, suggestions for related activities, and a lsit of additional resources. Teaching Kids to Love the Earth will enable you and the children you work with to experience a “sense of wonder” about the world we share.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9510-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vii])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [viii]-[ix])

    • 1 Serentripity
      (pp. 3-9)

      Children are remarkably competent human beings. Sure, they spill juice, track mud across the kitchen, fuss over mosquito bites and pick fights with their brothers and sisters—but so do adults.

      If given the chance, little people can also paddle canoes, discover intricate spider webs, wash camp dishes and create sensitive poems and pictures. Children can be strong partners—even leaders—in the outdoors.

      If you respect the leadership of children you will accomplish amazing feats—feats like boulder jumping and agate finding and ant studying.

      The success of this activity depends on your ability to become one in spirit...

    • 2 Abberwocky
      (pp. 11-17)

      Did you ever take the time to watch children play in their world of make-believe? The play often begins with “Let’s pretend that. . . .” Energy builds as dress-up clothes are donned, toys are arranged, and roles are assigned. Real-world concerns like hunger, music lessons and chores vanish.

      You, too, can open the door into the world of make-believe. Take off your watch. Find some favorite children and go outdoors. Follow your curiosity, your imagination.

      In the following story, Ann kindles children’s curiosity and imagination about the outdoors by conjuring up an imaginary creature. She invites four children to...

    • 3 By the Light of the Moon
      (pp. 19-27)

      Darkness is a time not commonly explored. It is unknown and mysterious, a time of awe and fear.

      In this story we see a group of people deal openly and supportively with their fear of darkness. In a guided activity that involves howling for wolves, teenager Christopher’s fear actually helps create a night of heightened awareness.

      You can also adapt this activity into an owl call or a watch for shooting stars. “You don’t have to howl,” 14-year-old Christopher’s mom said to him in their dormitory room. “Besides, I think all the rest of us will be adults. You won’t...


    • 4 Predator/Prey
      (pp. 31-39)

      The key to exploration is time outdoors. One of the most effective ways to get people, particularly children, outdoors is to offer them the chance to play. Games that teach ecological concepts provide an enjoyable way to help children explore.

      Everyone has played hide-and-go-seek. In this exciting outdoor version of that ever-popular game, participants of all ages gain an animal’s perspective in the exploration of a new habitat. “I see you, Ann!” yelled Amber. Ann stood up in the dried grass and walked over to the red-tailed hawk “predator.” Amber was the red-tailed hawk. “I saw your head moving,” she...

    • 5 It’s a Keeper!
      (pp. 41-49)

      The joyful companionship of an adult and a child can take the form of a walk in the woods, a canoe paddle, a fishing trip or a stroll through the garden. Where or what the adult and child explore is not as important as how they do it. Together they can keep alive their sense of wonder.

      Teaching the child a skill is one of the most common ways for a parent and child to explore the outdoors together. In this story we see a lifelong fisherman teach his six-year-old daughter the patience and determination it takes to become a...

    • 6 In the Arms of the Cottonwood
      (pp. 51-59)

      Exploration implies moving from one place to the next, looking at new sights and sounds, learning new skills and meeting new people.

      Exploration can also mean looking in depth at one place—investigating the connections that make the place dynamic, unique and beautiful. Awareness of the sights, sounds and smells around you can be enhanced by sitting quietly in one place.

      In this story, Joe silently explores the subtle beauty of a small woodlot from his deer stand. In the process, he discovers deep connections with the earth, the past and his inner self.

      The pre-dawn sky was pitch black....

    • 7 Journey Into the Past
      (pp. 61-69)

      Earlier landscapes and lifestyles can be explored through conversations or photographs. Visits with grandparents, senior relatives or community elders are a great way to become better acquainted with a place. Old photo albums provide a priceless journey into the past.

      The following story illustrates Joe’s connection to the central Wisconsin farm that his great grandparents first cleared and homesteaded. Through four generations the farm has bonded this family together.

      In the activity you will be invited to explore your family’s roots and your connections to the land. The sweet smell of newly cut hay drifted into the car window reminding...


    • 8 Spring’s Sweet Flow
      (pp. 73-81)

      When the grass peeks out from the edges of snowbanks and the sun finally rises before six in the morning, the eternal hope of spring rises once again in the hearts of Northerners. This is the season of melt.

      Best yet, this is the season of maple syruping. In mid-March, when temperatures drop below freezing at night but rise into the high 30s or 40s during the day, a special sweet begins to flow.

      The skills acquired in this activity lead you to a treat and to the magic of spring. This activity is an example of how you can...

    • 9 The Gift of Fire
      (pp. 83-89)

      From the flicker of a candle to a roaring blaze, fire has fascinated young and old since the beginning of humankind. Fire has been a tool with many uses; a source of danger and fear; and a provider of comfort, warmth and light. Our distant ancestors saw in fire the mysteries of the supernatural.

      Today we continue to be awed and nourished by the warmth of an open fire. Building a campfire can awaken a sense of wonder about primal forces of nature and strengthen a sense of dependence on the earth.

      In this story, students learn the skill of...

    • 10 Solo
      (pp. 91-99)

      Time for yourself is important. Profound discoveries can be made when you are alone; free of distractions, external demands and pressures; free of the need to communicate. When you are alone with the quiet of the natural world, your vision is clearest.

      The ability to be alone comfortably must be consciously developed by beginning with short, well-planned, safe solos. Skills for soloing can grow to a point where being alone is as comfortable and enjoyable as being in the company of good friends. Then you can gradually extend the length of time on these excursions.

      This activity could be for...

    • 11 Reflections in the Snow
      (pp. 101-107)

      Writing a journal is an opportunity to converse with yourself. As you write, your observations and thoughts become more clear. Finding the words for your journal involves a silent, internal exploration of a place you have visited, the people you have met, and the ideas you have encountered. The value of such writing is that it blends direct investigation with reflection. Your journal entries can lead you to important discoveries about yourself and the natural world.

      In this story Ann recalls a solo winter camping trip and expands on the entries in the journal about that trip.

      For the past...


    • 12 Chuck the Penguin
      (pp. 111-121)

      Storytelling is universal. Myths and legends exist in all cultures. From ancient Ojibwe tales to 20th century bedtime stories, the oral tradition continues. It continues because of the bond it creates between parent and child, elders and young people.

      Stories also can come from your own experiences. Often the most lively and meaningful stories are extensions of your life. Stories transfer significant events, dreams, discoveries and people into lasting memories.

      In the following story a father transforms his love for the mysterious continent of Antarctica into a lively, informative story about the explorers and wildlife of the earth’s coldest continent....

    • 13 On the Ropes
      (pp. 123-131)

      A wealth of expertise awaits those who want to learn more about the outdoors. Nature centers, environmental learning centers, summer camps, ranger naturalist programs and Audubon field trips are all great ways to learn. Likewise, universities offer lecture series, science museums lead field courses, and community education centers sponsor outings. These programs provide unparalleled opportunities for family growth through shared outdoor adventures.

      These activities emphasize the quality of family sharing that is inspired by learning skills outdoors. In this story a family shares a winter weekend at a residential learning center. Working together, and yet also alone as individuals, they...

    • 14 The Bunkhouse
      (pp. 133-141)

      Somewhere you have a special place, a manifestation of your heart’s deepest love. For a fisherman the place might be a treasured fishing hole. For a kayaker it could be a secret set of rapids. For a gardener it might be an experimental corner of the garden. For a hiker it could be a hilltop. For a family, it may be a summer cabin.

      A special place beckons you to be there because you are part of it and it is a part of you. You go there seeking a friend—the comfort of familiarity. You go there to dream,...


    • 15 On the Trail of John Muir
      (pp. 145-153)

      People who are committed to earth stewardship are earth prophets. They often find their entire lives transformed as they focus on visions they have for the earth—protecting an endangered species, fighting an environmental wrong or preserving a place they have come to love.

      John Muir, Rachel Carson, Sigurd Olson, Aldo Leopold and others were all driven by a profound passion for the earth and its care. This passion was a unifying force in their lives. It integrated their thoughts, actions and relationships. They became prophets, not as the result of single actions or events, but because their entire lives...

    • 16 Bulldozers and Boardrooms
      (pp. 155-165)

      For most of us, stepping on the path to environmental activism is not a premeditated decision. Something touches us close to home and we feel moved to act. We may not have the skills, but we’re motivated to find help and direction because we care passionately.

      The call to environmental activism is a noble cause—to do battle for the earth, to fight to preserve it.

      The battlefield may be the halls of Congress, the boardroom of a company or the front of a bulldozer. The weapon may be a petition, a phone call, a speech, careful research, money or...

    • 17 Wisdom’s Ways
      (pp. 167-176)

      By living closer to the land, you and the earth begin to live together like loved ones. You notice the subtle changes of gray in a November forest, the delicate tracks marking a winter landscape, the burgeoning pulse of life in a marigold marsh, the blessing of a sprouting bean. You care about changes on the earth and you vow to live gently with it.

      Living gently happens in cities and in rural townships around the world when people turn off lights, conserve water, use public transportation, recycle or grow chemical-free gardens. In the following story a young married couple...