A Wall That Entwines Us
By Cory Kibler, Communications Specialist for the Nature Explore Program
Fresh from the dynamic energy of CAEYC in Sacramento, California, the Nature Explore program is once again reminded of the fantastic community of advocates working together to change the world’s approach to early education.
At the Nature Explore/Outdoor Classroom Project® conference booth, our Nature Explore program ambassadors wanted to offer current and future partners something honest, fun, and meaningful to engage in during their visit. The result: The “Share Your Memories in Nature Wall.”
This wall was constructed from twine, and booth visitors were invited to write down their favorite memory in nature on a colorful card and tie it to the wall, thereby creating a tactile tapestry of powerful experiences. The hope was that it would resonate with people; luckily, visitors shared countless magical memories, going above and beyond any expectations.
These memories are important. Aside from offering insight into what we hold dear about nature, the Memories in Nature Wall helps answer the question: “How can we create positive memories in nature for future generations?”
Sometimes, as adults with jobs and families and other grown-up responsibilities, it’s hard for us to remember why we fell in love with nature in the first place. The first time we saw a redwood tree; the moment when we realized the sky is much more replete with stars when viewed in the country; our first panoramic view of an expansive ocean; simply playing near a creek or camping with our families; all of these memories are gifts that make our hearts swell upon reflection.
These memories can also serve as gifts for our children. As advocates for nature, we yearn to share the very magic that captured our hearts and souls when we were young. A lot of things lose their mystique as we grow older, but the nature that surrounds us—a foggy trail in the tall trees of the Pacific Northwest, a rolling Midwestern plain, the towering purple peaks of a mountain range—these only become more important as we age. We realize their vital role in our formative years, the (seemingly miraculous) circumstances that led to their formation, and the ways they can inspire generations of children to come.
As individuals, our dreams can sometimes feel small. At the same time, we work to change the world on a grander scale through meaningful connections with nature. So: How do we get from Point A to Point B?
Sometimes, on our journey, a wall is a guide, rather than an obstacle.