Watch any young child outdoors, in a garden or a park. If allowed to play freely, you will probably conclude that children are born with a sense of wonder for Nature! Unfortunately, many of these toddlers will enter school with that instinct diminished. Our increasingly urbanized environments coupled with parental obsessions for sanitized playing conditions for their kids, ensure that any affinity children may have had to explore the natural world soon disappears. A school project on the subject of “trees” then is one of the many ways through which children can be helped to connect or re-connect with Nature.
“Trees” as a topic can be viewed through a multitude of lenses: botanical, geographical, historical, ecological, and so on. But the greatest value of doing a project on trees would be to use the opportunity to inculcate a deep love and appreciation for the natural world and for the outdoors. Psychologists increasingly acknowledge that being close to nature helps to promote a beneficial state of mental health. So if you help your students to develop a love for nature, maybe you are giving them a gift that they will treasure through their life!
The author has been a member of Kalpavriksh since 1984 and her main engagement has been in the field of environment education for children. She has authored two story books for children and has also co-authored environment education handbooks and resource kits for educators. She can be reached at [email protected].