Creating Wonder-Inspired by Nature


By Lisa Niver Rajna


Teaching your kids to love nature.

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau

Not all of us can make a commitment to nature like Henry David Thoreau to go live on Walden Pond, but we do not have to go to such lengths to inspire our children to love nature. By creating wonder and a connection to the environment we can all protect our planet.

We can even share seeds and caterpillars with our children without even going very far outside! As Janine M. Benyus states in Biomimicry:

Bringing children back into nature and nature back into childhood is a job for teachers and parents and friends willing to take a child outside for a lark. There need not be an ‘official’ park involved; finding a place where green things grow, even if it’s a crack in the sidewalk, is enough.

You can order a kit with seeds and starter material, buy plants at your local nursery, or go to the supermarket and purchase a bag of lima beans. Soak the lima beans overnight, put them in a plastic baggie with a wet paper towel inside and tape it to a window—watch your child’s face as they starts to grow! If you have an onion with green shoots, you can put the end in water (use toothpicks to keep it half out of the water) and it will grow. This is also great to do with a sweet potato.

In A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, he says that after a science education based on stupefying, boring textbooks, he was surprised to find that there is so much to be amazed about on our planet: “Did you know there are more geysers and hot springs at Yellowstone than in all the rest of the world combined?” He talks also about the wonder of our own bodies. “Your heart must pump 75 gallons of blood an hour, 1,800 gallons every day, 657,000 gallons in a year—that’s enough to fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools—to keep all those cells freshly oxygenated.” How incredible is that?

We can learn to be inspired by the marvel of our bodies and try like Thoreau to live deliberately in taking care of our planet and ourselves. Water is everywhere and needs our protection.

“A potato is 80 percent water, a cow 74 percent, and a bacterium 75 percent. A tomato, at 95 percent, is little but water. Even humans are 65 percent water, making us more liquid than solid by a margin of almost two to one!” We are more liquid than solid and more capable of amazement than we realize.

Thomas Friedman, in his book, Hot Flat and Crowded, discusses the increasing need for green energy, clever solutions and how we need to inspire students to love science and be creative.
You might start by growing a lima bean or signing a petition to save sea turtles in Tonga, or maybe you will decide to go visit the orangutan sanctuaries in Borneo.

“The palm oil that fried your French fries today may have come from a chopped-down tropical forest in Indonesia, which in turn helps to contribute to climate change that is intensifying the drought in your backyard.” If we save the orangutan, we may save ourselves. The word ‘Orangutan’ does literally means “man of the forest” in the Indonesian language.

In Dr. Seuss’ children’s book, The Lorax, we hear:

“Mister,” he said with a sawdusty sneeze,
“I am the lorax! I speak for the trees! I speak for the trees,
for the trees have no tongues,
and I’m asking you sir at the top of my lungs!” The question is who will you speak for and
what do your actions teach your children?

Tonga petition:

Lisa Niver Rajna, M.A. Ed. has over 12 years of classroom teaching experience and an additional 11 years working in camps and on cruise ships.

This article first appeared in LA MOM Magazine.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.

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