Nature, Interconnection, Other Ways of Knowing

Nature Affluence Chart

Connecting with Nature

Impact on my Happiness and Well-Being 

Increasing my Nature Affluence

Taking morning and evening walks -Good start and end to the day

-Relaxing and calming

-Technology free time!

Using all my senses as I explore/revisit my community
Planting seeds “with” my class as an online experiment -Knowing that this is a real life experience for my students makes me happy Considering to plant our own food in some capacity
Sitting on the deck -Good way to unwind

-Appreciation of the outdoor space I am fortunate to have

Using the outdoors more in a variety of ways: as my work space, more dining, reading, etc.
Doing yard work -Physical activity

-Proud of the work done

-Feels good to look at what you’ve accomplished

Thinking of this more as an opportunity to connect than as a chore allows us to observe and appreciate the nature around us. For example: A rainy day doesn’t have to have a negative connotation, but can be looked at as a time for plants to grow instead.

 As I filled out this Nature Affluence chart it made me think of the direction that I wanted to go for my response this week. I want to go back to the “basics” and consider how well-being can be positively impacted when we slow down. It felt like this is a good time to revisit the simple ways I can connect with nature since I am at home 99% of the time and have very few things that I feel are urgent or need to be rushed toward.

This week’s reading and videos have felt like they’ve given me motivation and almost like a permission to slow down and really think about nature and interconnection. This felt really good because for so long I feel like things are so busy that I forget about the small things that I enjoy, or simply don’t consider interconnectedness like I want to or even take time to reflect. Fortunately as a teacher I am able to “reset” each summer, but why stop there?!

I chose to read Chapter 1: Mino-Bimaadiziwin: Education for the Good Life from Deer and Falkenberg and watch The Hidden Beauty of Pollination and Multiple Ways of Knowing in Environmental Decision Making this week. These all served as tools to pursue time to reflect, wonder and just simply “be”.

From the readings and videos this is what I have decided to focus on…

Connecting with Nature for Well-Being

a) Self Care:

-Whenever I need to hit the ‘reset button’ or think something through I seek out nature

-Being in nature without bringing any technology is literally a breath of fresh air!

-The expectations I feel from all aspects in my life are paused for awhile and I simply breathe, reflect, appreciate and soak in nature and all it has to offer

*It is important for me to realize the interconnectedness that we experience between self-care and sustainable happiness. My own self-care is connected to the well-being of the environment. There can be such a positive relationship between caring for ourselves and caring for our environment!

Self-Care in Nature Morning Routine!

Self-Care looks like this a lot! Hudson and I chilling and watching the wildlife! Fortunately she wasn’t too curious about a skink in the yard the other night!

b) Education:

-Being a multiage class I loop my Social Studies and Science curriculums. This year is what we call an “Earth Year” as we learn about plants, soils, etc. 

-This is a great opportunity to each the students about plants, the environment, the Earth and there are many ways for this to happen (whether we are at home or at school!)

-The valuable lessons about interconnectedness and Indigenous perspectives are very meaningful and valuable

Getting started with our “Planting at Danielle’s” experiment!

Plant A will be inside in the sun and get watered regularly. Plant B will be inside in artificial light only and get watered regularly. Plants C & D will both be outside in the sun, but C will get watered and D only gets water when it rains. The students had to make predictions and weekly observations based on the activities I post on our online platform.

This was our final check in on May 27. After discussion with the students we opted for all plants to be outside and watered regularly and see if the plants not doing well could “catch up” based on their observations.

This was another offering…an inquiry based on a plant observation (with a journal feature for them to fill out). This is a glimpse of the observation at my house, but the students did one at their house as well!

c) Building Relationships:

-There are opportunities to build relationships with the nature that surrounds us, with other people, with ourselves

-When we build connections and relationships we are more invested and care more. These are important parts of our well-being

This poor buck reminds of the interconnectedness between humans and animals. He clearly got caught up in some sort of outdoor decorations. The first time I saw him was on Christmas Day and then sporadically throughout the remainder of the winter. I am hoping that he still comes around, but has lost his antlers and I just don’t recognize him anymore. The choices that we as humans make impact animals and plants when we don’t even realize it. It makes me think about the relationship we can have with nature if we choose to do some.

d) Discovery:

-Finding things that make us happy!

-Finding out things about ourselves

-Learning about how things are connected to all other living things

-Discovering something new each day as no two days are ever the same!

-Appreciating what we have in our natural world and what can happen if we don’t care about the choices we make as a human society 

The discovery that happens when we take a new walking path, or when we tune into our senses when we take a path we’ve walked a thousand times…always something new to discover…with my best girl!

When you discover that your husky might be the “big, bad wolf” in any fairytale ever written! This made me smile! It made me laugh! It made me appreciate the sun and how we create amazing shadows!

I rarely take my phone with me when I’m outside…except when I have the purpose of sharing a photo while I’m out. While connecting with my students I wanted to share these images with them in some capacity. I don’t want this pandemic to distance the relationships I have with the students, so I share a bit of home with them as they do with me! Mostly they are interested in what Hudson is doing!!

My Takeaways: Nature, Interconnection, Other Ways of Knowing

*Don’t worry about the weather, find something good in each and every day

*Listen to your heart and your “gut” and allow yourself to feel what you need to feel

*Never forget the relationships we have as humans with the natural world. We have the power to decide if these relationships are positive or negative.

These words by Maya Angelou are fitting for our relationship with nature. We now know better, so let’s do better!

To quote one of the wisest 9 year olds I’ve ever met…

Me: It’s raining. That’s too bad.

9 Year Old: Ya…but I haven’t seen a worm for awhile!

It’s all about perspective…and that’s the kind of perspective I want to have in my own life!

References:

Deer, F., & Falkenberg, T. (Editors). (2017). Indigenous perspectives on education for well-being in Canada. Winnipeg: Education for Sustainable Well-Being Press.

M.J. Barret. (2013, July 12). Multiple ways of knowing in environmental decision- making [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMsK3v6iJu0&feature=emb_logo

O’Brien, C. (2016). Education for sustainable happiness and well-being. New York, NY: Routledge.

TED. (2011, May 9). The hidden beauty of pollination | Louie Schwartzberg [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/eqsXc_aefKI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.