I’m in the Woods - I’m S’posed to Explore!

Written by Sarah Rohe
    Thursday, 28 March 2013
I’m in the Woods - I’m S’posed to Explore!

It was a muddy day in the woods. The snow that had piled up all winter was melting, making it a perfect day to study the tracks that animals had left behind in the mud. One particularly excited 2nd grader, Kayana, was anxious to find any track she could. As she ran off the trail in search of more signs that animals had made, I asked her to come back to the group. Clearly disappointed that I had stopped her investigation, she yelled back “But I’m in the woods- I’m s’posed to explore!”

This "From the Archive" post was originaly published in the May/June 2008 edition of our newsletter. Please enjoy this glance back at our past.

I couldn’t help but smile. Kayana put into words what we see all the time when taking a group of kids outside. A student finds a centipede by rolling over a dead log and curiosity takes over, compelling her to look under every log to discover what else she can find. Or a child notices the brilliant yellow and orange stripe on the head of a brave Goldencrowned Kinglet perched in the bushes just a couple feet away and suddenly each bird is a new treasure. New worlds are discovered just by taking kids outside and giving them the opportunity to explore.

Research has shown that children spending time exploring nature benefits them in many ways. In his book “Last Child in the Woods”, Richard Louv suggests that consistently spending time outdoors is beneficial to children’s spiritual, emotional and physical health. It can be as simple as turning off the TV and spending time in your own backyard or taking a walk to your neighborhood park.

So if you have a child or know a child (or even if you don’t!), go outside and do some exploring of your own. Spring is the perfect time to look for wildflowers or migrating birds, plant a garden or search for animal tracks in the mud.

Sarah Rohe

Sarah Rohe

Sarah was introduced to the field of environmental education through residential summer camps in Iowa, where she was raised. In her 12 years of experience she has worked with children of various ages, including at-risk youth and families at several organizations such as the Des Moines YMCA camp and Holden Village in Washington. In 2001, Sarah became an Environmental Educator for the Urban Ecology Center through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps then returned in 2005 as a full-time employee. In her spare time she enjoys camping, biking, gardening and cooking.


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