Earth Day is Everyday
by Donna M. Duresne
Director, Ragged Hill Woods
4-H Environmental Education Program, Brooklyn CT
Young people are increasingly aware of an concerned about the environment. As parents, teachers, and day care providers, we can help them to explore the outdoors and develop their environmental awareness. The iridescent wings of a Japanese Beetle; a spider's web draped in dew; the inconspicuous hole made by a meadow vole, are some of the magical discoveries children can make in their own backyard.
Their enthusiasm for the smallest details can be infectious. Sharing the outdoors with children heightens our own awareness and inspires young people to nurture a sense of respect for the world in which they live. The following activities can be accomplished in a backyard setting, or a city park. Most can be duplicated in an urban area. Wilderness is not necessary to the discovery of wildness!
ACTIVITIES AGES 3-5
ACTIVITIES AGES 5-7
ACTIVITIES AGES 7-9
Besides the activities above, day care providers can help to cultivate a healthy environmental attitude by separating and recycling trash, and composting food scraps. Young people can be encouraged to swap old toys and to hand down their clothes rather than discard them. Choose an animal or habitat of the month to study and talk about and Native American Storytelling resources for outdoor activities with young people, but first, read Rachel Carson's book A Sense of Wonder!.
Baylor, Byrd, The Other Way to Listen. Charles Scribner's Sons, N.Y.
Caduto, Michael J. and Bruchac, Joseph, Keepers of the Earth. Folcrum Press, 1988, Golden CO.
Columbe, Deborah A. The Seaside Naturalist: A Guide To Nature Study at The Seashore. Prentice-Hall, Inc., NJ, 1984.
Cornell, Joseph Bharat, Sharing Nature With Children. Ananda Publications, 1979.
Hunken, Jorie, Botany For All Ages (Discovering Nature Through Activities Using Plants). Globe-Pequot Press, Chester CT, 1989.
Sisson, Edith A., Nature With Children Of All Ages. Prentice-Hall Inc., 1982, NJ.
Rockwell, Robert E., Sherwood, Elizabeth A., & Williams, Robert A., Hug A Tree: And Other Things To Do Outdoors With Young Children. Gryphon House Inc.,1986, MD.