Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reflecting Upon Richard Louv and the Child-Nature Movement

by Carla Otredosky, Youth Programs Coordinator, The Groundwater Foundation

On Tuesday, February 19, I had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” at the Lied Center for Performing Arts here in Lincoln, NE.

As an environmental educator and self-proclaimed nature-lover, I am both professionally and personally interested in the movement that is sweeping the world to reconnect people with nature. While the lifestyles of today’s youth wires kids to electronics, leads to childhood obesity, and spurs an increase in attention deficit disorder, there is a new movement gaining momentum. We have the tools and the know-how to make this change and get people back outdoors.

I was motivated by Louv and his stories of people he has met, just like me, who are emotionally connected to the Earth and who are concerned that today’s children have missed out on establishing that same emotional connection. Louv illustrated the image of a grey-haired farmer he met, wearing cowboy boots, denim jeans and a Stetson, who was moved to tears by memories of the land he so loves. Louv described a woman, whose fondest memories of the environment include riding on the back of her horse as she leaned over to pluck bright orange survey sticks from the rolling hills of land near her home. Louv himself, admits to retreating to happy memories from his own childhood, constructing tree houses with scavenged materials in the wooded area just beyond his own backyard. It was during his solitary moments in these woods, that he called his own, where he fell madly in love with nature.

Hearing these stories made me ask myself, at what point in time did I fall madly in love with nature? For me, it is hard to pinpoint an exact time or place. However, I know that my parents had a heavy hand it. As an infant, I spent many of my weekends secured in a car seat in the back of their Jeep as we 4-wheeled off-road through the Rocky Mountains. My parents took my brother and I on a variety of camping trips every other weekend during the summers when we were growing up. We camped in tents, a pop-up trailer, and even owned a motor home for several years. One of my favorite camp grounds that we frequented was named Colorado Heights Camp Ground. There, my brother and I were given free reign to run, play, dig, catch, and explore until sunset. In high school, I went to a week-long summer camp where we back-packed (yes, carried all of our food and supplies on our backs) in the Pikes Peak Wilderness Area. It was exhausting, the food was terrible, and the nights were cold…but I loved every minute of it!

I consider myself lucky to have been given a childhood with so many experiences in nature. Imagining my childhood without these adventures makes me feel sad. Without nature, I believe I would be a different person, with different values. But more importantly, I believe that sharing these memories and experiences with others is a vital part of the process to reconnect humanity with nature.

I am interested to know; what is your story? What is your fondest memory of time spent outdoors in nature? Why is nature important in your life? What childhood or adult experiences have you had that shape who you are today?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Welcome from Jane Griffin

Hello Groundwater Friends, Colleagues, and Partners,

It is with great enthusiasm that I am taking over the reigns of this outstanding organization. It is both an honor and a challenge to strive to guide the foundation and ensure another successful era, such as the one Susan so gallantly led.

With only 4 days under my belt I have become fully aware of one thing: The Groundwater Foundation has done not only an amazing amount of incredible projects, but has done them with the utmost integrity; continuously offering top-quality products.

I am in admiration of the efforts and look forward to enabling the mission of the organization as we face the difficulties of the new century. Difficulties include both the complexity of the “water issues” and the difficulties that non-profit organizations face. Due to the importance of the resource we are educating individuals and communities about: groundwater. We will turn these difficulties into challenges and ultimately into solutions.

I am looking forward to hearing from you with thoughts on groundwater, with reflections on your experiences you have had (directly or indirectly) with our foundation, and with water ideas/issues that should be addressed.

Thanks for visiting our site and blogging with us!

Jane Griffin
The Groundwater Foundation

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tell Us Your Topic Ideas

The Groundwater Foundation wants to hear from you. What groundwater-related topics do you want to discuss? What concerns you about the environment? What issues are on your mind? Click on "comments" below and leave your suggestions. Your ideas will become discussion threads throughout the upcoming year.