Monday, September 3, 2012

Get To Know ~ your wild neighbours

Imagine an organization dedicated to connecting young people with nature through the medium of the creative arts – wouldn’t that be wonderful?  One group has been working to do just that for over ten years, a society founded by the incredibly talented nature artist, Robert Bateman.  Their motto is “Connect.  Create.  Celebrate.”  A motto I’m sure many of you share!

I was a lucky child with nature-loving parents.
So many young people have lost a connection to our natural world.  They tend to be less active outdoors than previous generations.  Parents are often transferred or move from place to place, and people are leaving rural areas for more urban spaces.  

 “Stranger danger” is another consideration – what responsible parent wants their children wandering the nearby woods as my generation did?  Sadly, our kids are losing that connection, that wonderful feeling of excitement and exploration I loved as I discovered the wonders of nature around me, and that love of place that can nurture us through thick and thin.

Their website is called “Get to know: your wild neighbours.”  I was honored to be contacted as a contributor to their Best Practices web page, which you can visit here.  The Best Practices page has links to art, music, photography, writing, and drama activities that combine the creative arts and nature.  It's a great resource for parents, teachers, and summer camp leaders.

Most recently, Get To Know (G2K) has sponsored a contest open to all sorts of creative expression by young people throughout North America: paintings, photography, original music, and poetry.  Visit the 2012 contest gallery at this link to see the winners.  One of the things I enjoyed as I browsed through the entries was the inspiration listed by each individual – it added an extra dimension to the creative work showcased.  I also took pleasure in reading the titles of each work; they often tell a further story and reveal a deeper meaning.  If you love to see how kids connect to nature, you’ll enjoy visiting the gallery!