||We at the Agency
of Natural Resources believe that the most important way
to teach young children about our states natural
environment is to allow them to experience, explore, and
enjoy nature. We want all children to develop an
understanding about the importance of conservation and
the part we all can play in conserving our natural
resources. But, we dont want to fill youngsters
with guilt for wasting a piece of paper or buying a toy
with excess packaging. Wed rather see young
children becoming naturalists, not activists.
As your children become older, begin
explaining to them the impacts we humans have on our
natural resources, and how all of us can consume fewer
resources and reuse or recycle materials.
Consider these one dozen ways you can
help your child or children become more aware and
appreciative of Vermonts natural resources:
- Take your children
regularly on outings into the woods and on the
water. Hiking, boating, fishing, hunting,
canoeing, and picnicking are all great ways to
develop a love of the outdoors in children. Pace
the outing to the age of the child, and stop
while everyone is still having fun. With young
children, turn it into a treasure hunt: see
what's living under the rotten logs; turn over
rocks in the streams; sweep a net through a field
or pond edge. Treat found creatures with
gentleness and return them to their home.
Dont bring wild creatures home, as most
wildlife species do poorly in captivity.
with your children special events, such as Green
Up Day, Arbor Day, and Earth Day.
- Help start or support
environmental education programs in your
children's schools. There are many ideas and
materials out there, often they just need someone
with time to help make them happen in a
- Grow a
garden even a small container garden if
yard space is limited.
- Allow part of your
lawn to go wild and see what grows, and plant
some bushes and trees to attract birds.
field guides in your home, so children will
develop an interest in identifying wildflowers,
birds, reptiles, and other species.
- When youre out
for a walk, bring along a small bag and a pair of
gloves so you can pick up litter as you are out
giving speeches, be a good role model. Turn
off lights in empty rooms and recycle paper,
glass, plastic, and metal; never burn trash or
litter. Children learn from you every day.
- Watch nature specials
on TV with your kids.
your children get older, discuss with them
conservation changes you can make in your own
family. For instance, talk with them about
buying energy-efficient bulbs, driving less, and
shopping for items with recycled materials or
- Read articles together
about various natural resource issues, both good
news and bad news. Join older children in
reading great literature about natural resources,
such as Aldo Leopolds Sand County
yourself about environmental trends so you can
discuss these issues knowledgeably with your
children. Learn more about topics such as
global warming, the safety of your local drinking
water supply, threatened and endangered species
in Vermont and around the world, the effects of
pesticides on wildlife, and habitat loss.