Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

It rained hard at noon, but the stalwarts opening booths for the first farmers market of the season hung on and before long the weather cleared, and it was sunny and warm.

Today I’m posting some recent outdoor photos from Massachusetts and Rhode Island and thinking particularly how seed pods, the smell of lilacs, and small landscapers make me happy.










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My friend Jean Devine is always up to something interesting. A Brown U grad, with an MBA from Simmons, she used to work in investor relations but in recent years has been testing the waters of social entrepreneurship.

Her latest initiative, with Barbara Passero of Sandpiper Creative, is called meadowscaping and is intriguing on many levels.

With access to a Waltham church lawn for a summer youth program, Jean and Barbara will work with kids to convert the yard into a meadow that uses native species from Garden in the Woods and provides a habitat to the bugs and other small creatures that make a healthy environment.

From the Meadowscaping for Biodiversity website: Meadowscaping “is an outdoor, project-based, environmental education program that provides middle school youth with real-world experiences in STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), while inspiring and empowering them to address challenges to the environment and our society.

“Today, few children spend time experiencing Nature and the benefits of outdoor recreation, education, and contemplation. Founder and former Director of the Children and Nature Network (C& NN) Richard Louv coined the phrase nature-deficit disorder to describe the negative effects of reduced outdoor time on children’s development. …

“Children who spend little time outdoors may value nature less than children who spend time outdoors in free play. Similarly, children who feel part of something bigger than themselves may … understand their dependence on a clean environment and know that they are responsible for caring for the Earth as their home.” More here.

The idea behind the meadowscaping summer program is that children, both at a young age and as they become adults, can actually do something about the environment.

Remember our post “The Doctor Is In” about the woman who sets up in a Providence park to listen to your worries about global warming (here)? Stop worrying and do something, say the meadowscape entrepreneurs. Give up lawn chemicals, plant a meadow, provide a home for tiny necessary critters, and work to make change.


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The Street Pianos are in Boston and getting some enthusiastic use. Today was a lovely day to be outside, and I saw several people of varying skill levels playing the two pianos in Dewey Square.

Occupy Boston’s time in the square having failed to do anything to change the tragedy of homelessness, a loose-knit fraternity were hanging out, listening to the music or taking a turn. A group of us from work went over to hear an economist/musician play duets with strangers and then start taking requests.

Since the pianos are supposed to stay outdoors in Boston until October 14 — sunshine, rain, or snow — several colleagues were wondering about how the Celebrity Series folks, who are sponsoring them, intend to keep the pianos safe. We concluded that the huge pieces of plastic nearby were placed there in the faith that public-spirited passerby would do the right thing in case of a cloudburst.

It was a beautiful day for a work break singing Gospel, rock, “Climb Every Mountain, and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (for a toddler in a stroller whose mom stopped to watch).



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On the radio show “Living on Earth,” Bruce Gllerman interviewed Antioch education professor David Sobel recently about helping kids grow up to care about nature.

“Research shows that adults who are strong environmental stewards were allowed to explore nature unfettered as kids. …  Sobel says educators are too focused on rules and making sure that students learn correct scientific terms instead letting kids be kids. …

“SOBEL: Kids should have alone time in the woods. If it gets crazy, then there should be some adult intervention. … There needs to be a large quotient of being outdoors, in the meadows and in the woods, as well as the more didactic, pictorial experience of IMAX and National Geographic.

“GELLERMAN: So basically, take the kid kayaking.

“SOBEL: Take the kid kayaking. Take the kid berry-picking.

“GELLERMAN: Well, [with] a lot of parents — you say ‘berry-picking’ and they’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh, they’ll pick something poisonous!’ I know I take my kid mushrooming, and I tell other parents, and they look at me like ‘Oh my God, should we call the police on this guy?’

“SOBEL: Exactly. It’s fascinating how shocked and disapproving other parents are about [that] kind of behavior. … One of the things in childhood that seems to shape environmental behaviors in adulthood is parents taking their kids mushroom picking and berry picking: selecting a natural resource for consumption …

“GELLERMAN: You know, Professor, if I were asked, I could trace my environmentalism to when I was just maybe four years old. And my mother gave me a spoon, put me in the garden, and I started digging to China. Do you have a memory like that?

“SOBEL: The analogous memory that I recount is a snow day when I was about eight years old. And my friends and I decided we would play this game where they were gonna go off and I was gonna to follow them fifteen minutes later. And in the midst of tromping through waist-deep snow all by myself, my glasses were fogging up, I had one of those little epiphany moments: that I was out here, all by myself, in the snowy wilderness, and wasn’t this great! It’s a recurrent phenomenon that kids have these great moments, somewhere in early to middle childhood, that often connect them to the natural world.”

More at the website, where you also can listen to the recording of the interview.

Photo: Flickr CC/your neighborhood librarian
Walking in the woods. 

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