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The Big Book of Nature Activities (PDF)
A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning
The average child can identify over 300 corporate logos, but only 10 native plants or animals—a telling indictment of our modern disconnection from nature. Soaring levels of obesity, high rates of ADHD, feelings of stress and social awkwardness and "Nature Deficit Disorder" are further unintended consequences of a childhood spent primarily indoors.
The Big Book of Nature Activities is a comprehensive guide for parents and educators to help youth of all ages explore, appreciate and connect with the natural world. This rich, fully illustrated compendium features:
- Nature-based skills and activities such as species identification, photography, journaling and the judicious use of digital technology
- Ideas, games and activities grounded in what's happening in nature each season
- Core concepts that promote environmental literacy, such as climate change and the mechanisms and wonder of evolution, explained using a child-friendly, engaging approach
- Lists of key species and happenings to observe throughout the year across most of North America.
Perfect for families, educators, and youth leaders, The Big Book of Nature Activities is packed with crafts, stories, information and inspiration to make outdoor learning fun!
Jacob Rodenburg is the Executive Director of Camp Kawartha, an award winning summer camp and outdoor education centre which uses music, drama, hands-on exploration, games and activities to inspire awe and wonder for the local environment. He teaches part time at Trent University, where he spearheaded the development of an "Eco Mentor" certificate program for teacher candidates which was subsequently adopted by several other universities. As well as publishing numerous articles on children, nature and the environment, Jacob has worked in the field of outdoor education for 25 years and recently received the Ontario Society of Environmental Educators Award for "Leadership in Environmental Education".
Drew Monkman is an award-winning environmental advocate, naturalist, and former board member of the Camp Kawartha summer camp and outdoor education centre. A retired elementary school teacher, Drew's interest in integrating nature activities and environmental education into all areas of the curriculum led him to oversee the development of an outdoor classroom which went on to become a model for many similar projects throughout Ontario. In addition to writing a weekly nature column, Drew is the author of several seasons based nature guides including Nature's Year and Nature's Year in the Kawarthas. Drew has also received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Trent University, for his work in promoting nature education. (www.drewmonkman.com)
"From the beginning of time we have been connected to nature, but for the first time in history, that connection threatens to be broken for most of an entire generation and perhaps generations to come. When children play in nature — climb trees, build forts and dams in creeks and go exploring — here is what happens: they have less obesity, less likelihood of developing attention deficit disorder, lower rates of depression and suicide, less alcohol and drug abuse, less bullying, plus, they get higher marks. This book provides a wealth of ideas for adults to engage children and themselves in the wonders of the natural world with suggested activities for all seasons. Nature is magic. And nature is free."
Robert Bateman, artist and naturalist
"These are the understandings humans have passed down over hundreds of generations; now we need to make a conscious effort to insure our kids can understand and enjoy the gorgeous world around them."
Bill McKibben, author, Long Distance and Eaarth
"Today's children are growing up indoors. A lack of nearby access to nature, transportation, school budget cuts, and competing priorities are among the barriers that have left an entire generation inside. The Big Book of Nature Activities will be a great resource to all of us who work with children. As a former environmental educator, I know how it feels to see a child light up inside after a first nature experience. As I embark on a new phase of life, motherhood, I look forward to using activities in this book to help me share my love for the outdoors with my son."
Jackie Ostfeld, Nearby Nature Director, Sierra Club
Nature is disappearing from our surroundings under the assault of human numbers, technology, consumption and an economic imperative. We will only fight to protect what we love but with most Canadians now living in large urban settings, nature has retreated before manicured lawns, concrete and glass so "weeds" and "pests" become remnants of what was once a world of rich biodiversity. The Big Book of Nature Activities is a welcome book that should be a bible for all adults and children eager to rediscover the very source of our health, joy and spiritual connection."
David Suzuki, science broadcaster and environmental activist
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