I never would have imagined being able to provide nature education remotely. Never, that is, until schools and most institutions closed, and we had to adapt to a new normal. Adaptation is a word that most naturalists are very familiar with. The diversity and magnificence of animals and plants in nature is triggered by their need to adapt to something. To adapt is to adjust one’s behavior or physiology to improve one’s chances of survival in a specific environment. In this new environment of remote learning, we were spurred to adapt and to figure out how we could continue to provide nature education to our schoolchildren.
I am beyond proud of what we have achieved so far. Working closely with the Larchmont-Mamaroneck school system, we have been providing weekly nature lessons to children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Through a combination of videos from the field and well-planned independent activity assignments, we have helped the children learn about nature. Topics so far have included signs of spring, vernal pools, and forest ecology. We have helped guide the children as they create their spring 2020 nature journals that will be filled with nature exploration, writing, and artwork, as well as serving as a keepsake of this time. We have included a family activity suggestion in each week’s lesson to encourage family connection to nature. The feedback from administrators, teachers, students, and families has been positive and gratifying. Sheldrake is thrilled to be embraced by the community always–and especially at this time. Learning about nature can spark joy, intellectual passion, personal growth, and a connection to the earth. We eagerly await the days of in-person Sheldrake experiences but are awed by the impact that even remote nature education is having and are privileged to be able to deliver it to our children.
In good health and nature,
Director of Education