I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
~ Lyrics by Michael Messner and Linda Creed
~Performed by Whitney Houston
On this sad day when you cannot turn on any radio or tv station and not hear a song by Whitney Houston, the song of hers that sticks in my mind begins “I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.”
There’s an old adage that says “We cannot protect what we do not love.” My goal is to teach others to love wildlife so that they will work to protect it. Since children are our best hope for sending this love of nature into the future, I especially love to spend time with the children in my neighborhood, teaching them about the nature in my wildlife garden.
I have one five year old neighbor who cries every fall when she sees those paper bags full of leaves lined up along the sidewalk because she knows that butterfly larva, salamanders, spiders, and many other kinds of wildlife make their homes in those leaves. So she helps me go around and collect those bags of leaves and we spread them out in our gardens and around the abandoned property on our block.
Many of the members of our team share their love of nature with the kids in their lives.
Loret T. Setters collects bugs and other critters to show off to kids in her nature talks.
Ruth Parnall designs outdoor playspaces for children that become laboratories for studying nature.
Mike Bezner has created his wildlife garden so that his kids can learn about nature and the wildlife who come to share his space with them.
Kathy Green plays tracking games with her kids, teaching them to identify tracks in the snow.
One of the best gifts you can give to the children in your life is your time. When you invite them into your wildlife garden to teach them about the wonders of nature, you are helping to create the next generation of conservationists and environmentalists.
What are you doing to share your love of nature and wildlife with the kids in your life?
Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.
© 2012, Carole Sevilla Brown. All rights reserved. This article is the property of Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.