Be a Mentor

 Get outdoors and experience the natural world with your child!

 “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder,” wrote Rachel Carson, he or she “needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in”.

If you are a parent, grandparent, or other mentor, you are probably concerned that your child spends too much time in front of a digital screen and too little time outdoors. If you are a master naturalist, you already know what to do. Most of us are not, but there is no better way to introduce a child to nature than to explore and learn with him. Discovering new things together is twice the fun! Read animal stories like In the Snow: Who's Been Here? or Loony Coon to your child. Find a woodlot, pond, park or even an overgrown vacant lot near your home and go there often. Ask questions that will sharpen her observation skills.

If you are not sure where to start, Naturekids has some resources that can help.  Get a copy of Richard Louv’s landmark book Last Child in the Woods. This book is a must-read for any parent or mentor that wants to learn the vital role nature and the outdoors plays in the healthy development of a child. Check out the Naturekids Mentor Kits.  Whatever your experience level or budget, there is a kit for you.  We also carry the lavishly illustrated and informative book The Practical Naturalist.

Look for a comunity of involved individuals and families near you.  Last Child in the Woods has galvanized a worldwide back-to-nature movement that connects more than three million children and youth to some kind of nature activity annually.  Called the Children & Nature Network, this is a great place to start looking for as there is likely a community near you.  Sign up for the Newsletter and find a chapter near you.  C&NN's Directory lists over 100 regional and local state and local organizations

If you are interested in becoming a Nature Leader, You can join the Natural Leaders Network.  You can download a packet to help you get started.

Finally, make sure your child is exposed to our fabulous National Parks and Monuments.  This rich heritage of public lands, which has been preserved for us all, includes some of the most unique and beautiful places on earth! Sit down with your child and make a bucket list of places like Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, or the Everglades.  Have your child study the history, geology, plants, and animals of your destination park before your visit.  These experiences will give your child a love for nature and the outdoors that will last a lifetime!