Sierra Club Blog Posts
If the twentieth century taught us anything, it taught us that concentrating too much power in the hands of a few is a very dangerous thing. In fact, the recognition of the necessity of keeping competing interests apart goes back a lot further.
Democratic countries have long upheld the importance of the separation of church and state. There are too many examples of excesses that can result from state enforcement of religious belief. Look no further than Iran for a real-time reason why.
We don’t, however, question the marriage of state and ideology - more specifically, government and big business - despite the havoc this union has caused over the past century. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, no? Even in the face of the (most recent) global economic meltdown – clearly caused by the excesses of laissez-faire capitalism - government and industry continue to grow closer.
UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP... Read more »
Do we have a principal to set things right?
It struck me the other day: Canada is stuck in a “Mean Girls” high school movie plot. Then the Robo-Call scandal broke and confirmed it.
Twenty years ago a new kid showed up in the parliamentary cafeteria. He was a big deal in Alberta. The son of Premier, but in Ottawa he was just an upstart from the country who needed to be put in his place. The in-crowd had nothing but scorn. They made fun of the way he talked, the clothes he wore, his nerdy glasses, even how he combed his hair. It wasn’t long before his dream of improving democracy was dashed and he was headed home. But he brought a few young buddies to Ottawa who stayed, vowing to teach those eastern kids a thing or two. They chose a new leader who, like Lindsay Lohan, was very talented - but with a flawed personality.... Read more »
Creatures have features. These specific adaptations make them what they are and not something else. A living critter may have feathers, fur, flippers, feet, or fins (and those are just the ones that I can think of that start with the letter “f”). Scientists like to classify and name living things based on the features that living things have.
A great game to get children up and running about, while at the same time using their imaginations to think of the characteristics of different critters is “Ranger Ranger”. To get the group thinking about features before getting into the game, I’ll lead a short discussion about what makes a reptile different from a mammal or a bird from a tree.
Ranger, Ranger Running Game
When you get out to the grounds start off by making a rectangular field. Have all the children line up on one end of the rectangle facing the opposite end.... Read more »
I love working with children. I thoroughly enjoy their enthusiasm and their tireless energy. I also love awakening the inner child in grownups as well. For the past few years, I have had the pleasure to coordinate and deliver workshops to preservice (student) teachers at universities. This year, my volunteer, Emily, and I were invited to deliver a three hour workshop with the Head Instructors of the EXCEL Child Care Program.
My goal when designing and delivering these sorts of professional development programs is to inspire educators, child care professionals, and others interested to include some environmental education in their own practice as a way of getting out of the school box and using some of these experiences to drive learnings and have some fun.... Read more »
Some urban school grounds are a challenge for me to plan our activities. This week I visited one group of children for an entire week with funding from the NS Department of Health and Wellness. Being an urban school, it has very heavy traffic on three sides of the school grounds, which are mostly paved over with asphalt, and also has a play structure and a basketball court. With the exception of a few trees and a small garden in back, it didn't provide me with a whole lot to work with.
I brought an assortment of games, activities, and some specimens like pelts and skulls to share with the children, but when we would go outside, it was a challenge to be heard over noise of the rush hour traffic and non-human signs of life were not apparent.
We decided to make some simple birdfeeders and hang them in the sparse trees in hopes of attracting some birds to our playground.... Read more »
Smells leave a lasting impression on our psyche because the part of our brain that deals with smell is close to our memory and emotional centres. Responses to smell can be instant and powerful. That is one of the reasons why I like to use the sense of smell when I work with children.
This week, there was an especially large patch of wintergreen on the school grounds, so at the end of each day I had the children close their eyes as they sat in a row on a fallen tree. As they sat there, I came along with some wintergreen that I had the stem scraped with my fingernail to release the oils that produce the smell. One by one, I put the wintergreen under their noses and while some of the children peeked open their eyes to see, many of them cracked a big smile after breathing in the sweet scent, a telltale sign of their impression of our little wooded area.
A Scent Scavenger Hunt... Read more »
This year Wild Child has been making single visits to groups of children enrolled with the EXCEL Child Care Program and depending upon the number of children enrolled, I may only get to see the school grounds once, twice, or if I am lucky a few times.
When I visit a school ground just once, it is a challenge for me to plan the activities because there may or may not be suitable spaces to do specific things. Most of the schools that I have visited have a wooded area on the property or directly adjacent to the school grounds and the staff has been very helpful in filling me in on what is available for us to use during my visits.
What I don’t always recognize is the knowledge that the children have of their own grounds and their eagerness to share this with me.... Read more »
Nestled under the evergreen branches near a small stream behind the school, the children and I made some very special friends this week.
Every school has different grounds and this week we got to us a thicket of forgotten weeds and evergreens on the bank of a river behind the school. Throughout the week, we would do activities together that would eventually lead us back to this secluded little area where the ground was covered in pine needles with enough space for us to sit under tangled evergreen boughs. Together we would listen for the sounds of nature to reawaken around us. The water, bird chirps and the wind sighing would create a quiet symphony for us.
A Sit... Read more »
One small desire of mine with Wild Child is to shift our thinking (even just a little bit) to realize that we are not the only living creatures that live in our communities. We are surrounded by millions of other living things and our actions have a very real impact on their lives. They leave evidence all over the place; feathers, tracks, silk, and leftover dinner bits. With awareness for these other lives around us, perhaps we can bring a little more thoughtfulness and compassion for these creatures into our daily activities.
This week at one school, I wanted to play a little game called the Unnature Trail.
The Unnature Trail... Read more »
Just got a news release from the Prime Minister's office (me and thousands of others). Now all that trash talk about "radical" environmentalists and "socialist foreign interests" is starting to make sense.
The release outlines all the trade deals the Prime Minister signed in China. Topping the list is an agreement to accelerate the selling-out of Canada's natural resources to China, especially oil.
Unlike NAFTA, there will be no debate in Parliament. Unlike Kyoto, there will be no vote in Parliament. It's a done deal. The horse has left the barn (or should I say the oil has left the pipeline?). But I digress.
... Read more »