Nelson Mandela, universally regarded as a great leader, once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I have done several Community Connection classes since my last blog, where we interact with children from different schools in the garden. It is debatable if the games we play in the gardens have any real and lasting impact on the way the kids understand nature. What is indisputable, however, is the kid’s wonder and intrigue as they walk through the gardens. Maybe it isn't about teaching the kids about nature and instead letting nature teach the kids. If we allow for those little innocuous interactions to take place, then we allow the kids to decide for themselves how they view nature. It is evident when they walk through the gates that they want to be here on some level whether they know it or not.
They forget all about the technology and the pressures from society and embrace the harmonic rhythm of the birds and the wind blowing through the trees. Some of them will arrive to the conclusion, that it is up to them to change the world quicker than others, and it will be a long and arduous journey, but I am certain that allowing the kids to come to the realization themselves will be infinitely more beneficial in the long run. Instead of looking at all the challenges they will face in the process of changing the world, they will see the end result.
Through all the trials and tribulations these kids will go through in their endeavors, they will be that much more equipped to handle them because they arrived at the conclusion themselves. This is why I see envnironmnetal education programs taught at the Gardens as much more than teaching the kids about camouflage or what deer need to survive. We are giving them a platform to explore and discover the world for themselves.