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Poop in the Sandpit

By Zhou Jiang and Ting Zhang | By Children in urban kindergartens lack opportunities to get close to nature. But with help from teachers, getting close to nature can still happen – as the following story illustrates. The story is about a kindergarten in the West Lake District, Hangzhou City, where poop in the…

Into the Woods: Review of “The Hike”

Review by Leah Harrigan | There’s something extraordinary that happens when a child steps out into the natural world, the possibility of exploration ahead of her. With each overturned leaf and puzzling new sight, there’s a momentum that propels curiosity forward. The Hike by Alison Farrell is an outdoor adventure story that follows three curious,…

The Chef’s Special Dough

By W. George Scarlett | I have sometimes wondered how came the stars, not to mention the moon and Mars. Are they someone’s leftover Christmas tree snow? Or perhaps they are mothballs – I really don’t know.

Deep Entanglements: Children and Fungi

By John Hornstein | My mother was happiest when foraging for mushrooms. Being an immigrant from Germany, she had difficulty adjusting to life in rural Maine. Foraging became a way for her to stay connected to her childhood. It also connected her to something more primal, the natural world. As a child tagging along on…

Free eBook- Augario’s Adventures in Evaporating

By Allison Choi, illustrations by Kirsten Malsam | Anthropomorphizing to explain nature need not, indeed should not, be limited to explaining nonhuman animals. Even the elusive chemistry in evaporative cooling can become intuitively understood by children, if only we bring that chemistry alive — as Allison Choi and Kirsten Malstem’s story clearly illustrates.

Beyond Seahorses and Hermit Crabs: Eric Carle’s Biocentric Anthropomorphizing for Fostering Empathy and Care

Review by Leah Harrigan | There’s certainly something special about the works of Eric Carle (1929-2021), the American author and illustrator who left a legacy of more than 70 children’s books celebrated worldwide. The self-described “picture writer”, Carle gifted us his bright, iconic tissue-paper illustrations that have adorned bookshelves since the 1960s. If you’ve read…

Technology for Playful Learning

By Mitchel Resnick | In recent years, a growing number of educators and psychologists have expressed concern that computers are stifling children’s learning and creativity, engaging children in mindless interaction and passive consumption. They have a point: today, many computers are used in that way. But that needn’t be the case.

Exploring the World on a Bicycle: Memories of Connecting to Nature

By Theo Klimstra | One of the striking differences between the Netherlands and most countries is the vast number of bikes that you’ll see everywhere. In the Netherlands, everybody rides bikes, partly because they are cheap to buy and cheap to maintain for commuting (no gas required) and partly because Dutch employers team up with…

Book Review: Bikes for Sale

Review by Joy Chi | In previous generations, bikes were functional vehicles utilized for transportation, recreation, and sport. However, their usefulness was often overshadowed by automobiles. In Bikes For Sale written by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora, the emphasis on bike culture is evidenced through two playful characters, Maurice and Lotta. An introduction…

School Gardens in the City

By Jane Hirschi | Years ago, I spent an afternoon with a group of eighth-grade boys digging up potatoes. They were amazed to find potatoes growing underground and surprised by their almost peppery flavor when we cooked and ate them. More recently, I witnessed a third grader who often struggled when asked to speak…

When Nature Gives You Ticks, Create a Tick Curriculum

By Robin Huntley and David Sobel | Start a conversation about using the natural environment, or taking learning outside, or studying the bobolinks in the meadow, and ticks start crawling through the recesses of school administrators’ and parents’ minds. Ticks and their associated diseases are perceived as a scourge across the northeastern United States, and…

Collecting for Connecting to the Natural World

By Jack Ridge | This is a story about collecting. Not the kind of collecting that clutters our basements and garages because we can’t let go, but the kind of collecting that stimulates life-long curiosity for the natural world. This story is about the natural objects we collect, the ones we look upon with curiosity…

Ecological Landscaping: Earth Stewardship for Everyone

By Doug Tallamy | If you live with at least some green around you, chances are you have never thought of space just outside and next to where you live as a wildlife preserve that represents the last opportunity we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S.. But that…

Book Review: Democracy for Dinosaurs

Review by Leah Harrigan | It’s never too early to start learning how to be an engaged citizen – just ask author Laurie Krasny Brown and illustrator Marc Brown, creators of Democracy for Dinosaurs: A Guide for Young Citizens. An introduction to civic values for young children, this book explores the important question of what…

What if You Could Email A Tree?

By Ashley Lin | If you don’t know the name of the tree outside your house or apartment (or don’t know if there is a tree outside your window), you’re not alone. Most people don’t think about finding nature when they look out their window at home or at their workplace, so they don’t see…

The Elephant-Human Relations Aid Program: Projects and Empathy for a Neighborhood of Friends

By Osita Achufusi | 415,000. That’s how many African elephants are left in the wild as of 2018, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. While this may seem like a sufficient amount, it’s not. Consider that an estimated 10 million of these gentle giants roamed Africa just a mere 90 years ago and that there…

Featured Artist: Jimmy Rouse

Images and stories by Jimmy Rouse | “In the painting, those are my two grandchildren charging up the hill. The painting is a homage to an early painting hero of mine, Chaim Souttine. He was a Russian Jew who fled to Paris as a teenager because he was beaten in his village for making graven…

Nature’s Toolbox: Learning with Nature at the Auchlone Nature Kindergarten

Sarah Wagner | Imagine the best possible early childhood program – where children spend the day in a space beautifully organized to invite a variety of forms of children’s play, where the children remain engaged by a rich array of materials to play with, build with, and learn with, and where teachers engage the children…

Let’s Talk Climate Change

By W. George Scarlett | Let’s talk climate change. Why? It’s simple. To be an earth steward in the 21st century one must understand and do something about climate change – because climate change and its related problems constitute the single greatest threat to the health of our planet.

Earth Stewards and the Development of Wonder

By W. George Scarlett | At four, the future primatologist Jane Goodall wondered how eggs come out of a hen—so she crawled into her family’s little henhouse to find out. After a while, a hen followed her in and gave her the answer. The little girl was mesmerized.

The New England Aquarium’s Internship Program for Teens: From Positive Youth Development to Becoming an Ocean Steward

By Liz Georgakopoulos | The teen internship program at the New England Aquarium dates back to 1992 when funding first became available for summer jobs for teenagers in Boston. After a slow start of two interns in 1992 and an increase to 10 interns in 1996, the popularity and funding fell into place partially…