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 her foraging adventures, I sensed the importance of those connections, and it made me happy. She has been gone a number of years, and now I am the one foraging for mushrooms, moreso as I age – a way of remaining connected to her, but also a way to connect to nature – so much so that my fascination with mushrooms has become an entanglement – one raising basic questions about who we are as humans and what we need to do for children’s development, questions such as, “What is it about fungi that fascinates and inspires?” and “How can mushrooms help us teach children how nature works?” and “What can fungi tell us about the precarious world we now live in?”
By Maria Ojala | Many young people today worry about climate change and what is happening to our planet. And those who worry cope in very different ways. Some ways lead away from positive actions and earth stewardship, while other ways forge a foundation for positive actions and earth stewardship. So how do we discover the differences?
By Ashley Lin | What can we do when the world is turned upside-down? How do we help young people grapple with the uncertainty, stress, and anxiety that is a constant in life but heightened during a pandemic? How can we come out triumphant, even a bit stronger?
By Megan Mueller |
What is it about our relationships with pets that make them so enduring, and how do they connect us to the wider, natural world – making it more likely that we will act as earth stewards? For many, experiences with pets are experiences akin to some of the most positive and important experiences as humans – particularly experiences of caring for and being cared for by another. Research by many scholars who study human-animal relationships, including our own research at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, has shown that children closely attached to pets also demonstrate compassion and caring for all animals — as well as intolerance for cruelty to animals. In short, it is this potential for pets to elicit in us feelings of attachment, empathy, and care that make pets so relevant for helping children to connect to and care for the wider, animal world.