Companions in Wonder: Children and Adults Exploring Nature Together

Overview

Rachel Carson's classic 1956 essay "Help Your Child to Wonder" urged adults to help children experience the "sense of wonder" that comes only from a relationship with nature. It's clear we haven't succeeded in following her advice: eight-year-olds surveyed in theUnited Kingdom could identify more Pokémon characters than common wildlife species; and RichardLouv's recent best-selling book Last Child in the Woods identifies a "nature deficit disorder" in children around the world. But today a growing number of ...

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Overview

Rachel Carson's classic 1956 essay "Help Your Child to Wonder" urged adults to help children experience the "sense of wonder" that comes only from a relationship with nature. It's clear we haven't succeeded in following her advice: eight-year-olds surveyed in theUnited Kingdom could identify more Pokémon characters than common wildlife species; and RichardLouv's recent best-selling book Last Child in the Woods identifies a "nature deficit disorder" in children around the world. But today a growing number of environmentally minded parents, teachers, and other adults are seeking to restore nature to its rightful place in children's lives. This anthology gathers personal essays recounting adventures great and small with children in the natural world. The authors—writing as parents, teachers, mentors, and former children—describe experiences that range from bird watching to an encounter with an apple butter-loving grizzly bear. Rick Bass captures fireflies with his children and reflects on fatherhood; Michael Branch observes wryly that both gardening and parenting are "disciplines of sustainability"; Lauret Savoy wonders how African American children can connect to the the land after generations of estrangement; and Sandra Steingraber has "the big talk" with her children, not about sex but about global warming. By turns lyrical, comic, and earnest, these writings guide us to closer connections with nature and with the children in our lives, for the good of the planet and our own spiritual and physical well-being.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The writers' voices are strong, and the experiences they describe are deep and visceral. As a body of work, the essays stitch together a leafy, rich canopy of answers to the question 'Why do we need to share and explore the natural world with children?'"—KirstenRowell, Science
Library Journal
This anthology of nature writing "focuses on the relationships between people across generations as well as between people and the natural world." Editors Dunlap (children's writer) and Kellert (emeritus, social ecology, Yale Univ. Sch. of Forestry and Environmental Studies) solicited contributions from popular writers such as Rick Bass, Richard Louv, and Sandra Steingraber, as well as from a wealth of academics running the gamut from ecologists, forestry and environmental studies professors, to environmental consultants, and collection curators. The writing is thus accomplished and elegant but still personal and touching, as the essays are first-person narratives and are not expository in nature. VERDICT This slow and reflective collection not only highlights many of the urgent environmental concerns facing our society today but keenly illustrates how nature is the common thread of the tapestry of our lives, shaping much of our identities and our interactions with those around us. Appropriate for ecology and environmental studies collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262516907
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/29/2012
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Dunlap is the author or coauthor of many children's books about nature and the environment, including Louisa May and Mr. Thoreau's Flute and Parks for the People: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted.

Stephen R. Kellert is Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology at Yale University'sSchool of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is the author of a number of books, includingBuilding for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection, and the coeditor of Children and Nature: Psychological, Sociocultural, andEvolutionary Foundations (MIT Press).

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Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledments xxi

Introduction 1

1 The Farm Rick Bass 25

2 MyChild's First Garden Michael P. Branch 33

3 Tracking Our Way James Bruchac Joseph Bruchac III 51

4 Tidal: Subtidal Susan A. Cohen 61

5 The Toad Not Taken Jeffrey S. Cramer 71

6 Of the Fittest Janine DeBaise 81

7 A New England Childhood Alison Hawthorne Deming 97

8 Child's Play: Finding the Green in the In-Between Carolyn Finney 107

9 The Naturalistic Necessity Stephen R. Kellert 113

10 Children in the Woods Barry Lopez 137

11 Fathers and Sons Richard Louv 141

12 Moving through the Landscape of Healing Stephen J. Lyons 149

13 Belonging on the Land David Mas Masumoto 155

14 A Field Guide to Wetern Birds Kathleen Dean Moore 165

15 At Home with Belonging Danyelle O'Hara 171

16 Animal Allies Brenda Peterson 181

17 Grandmother, Grizzlies, and God Brenda Peterson 189

18 Parents without Children: Confessions of a Favorite Uncle Robert Michael Pyle 197

19 Raising silas Janisse Ray 205

20 Grandma's Bawena Enrique Salmon 213

21 Mountain Music I Scott Russell Sanders 219

22 Bowl of Stones Chiori Santiago 231

23 Colored Memory Lauret Savoy 237

24 We Are Distracted Michael Shay 243

25 The Big Talk Sandra Steingraber 247

26 On Being "Indian", Unsilent, and Contaminated along the U.S.-Mexico Border Margo Tamez 251

27 The Prophets of Place Stephen Trimble 259

28 Huckleberry Country Michael Umphrey 265

29 Scorched Earth Rick Van Noy 271

30 Children in the River Gretel Van Wieren 277

Afterword 289

Credits 295

About the Contributors 299

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