Teaching kids to love nature, and providing lots of experiences in nature, whether in your own wildlife garden or by visiting local parks and nature centers is one of the best gifts you can give them.

The fact is that we will want to protect what we know, and learning about nature and wildlife from a young age will give children a wonderful foundation. And these nature-knowledgeable kids will be our future scientists, naturalists, ornithologists, entomologists, environmentalists, and maybe even a president. Wouldn’t you just love to have a president with a love of nature and a desire to protect it?

My friends and neighbors, Mary and Dean, are fabulous examples of making nature experiences a priority for their 3 children: Libby (8), Penny (6), and Emmett (3). Stay at home dad Dean has actively sought out a wide variety of nature experiences for these kids from the time they were very little.

Every day brings a new outdoor adventure: they go fishing, visit the zoo, play at Morris Arboretum, go to the aquarium, and learn to create their own fun at many local parks.

TV and small-screen time is minimal for these kids, but outdoor playtime, reading, and learning about nature are the norm.

It has been my honor and joy to participate in many of these adventures with them, and such a blessing to watch them grow up…

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