Monday thought of the week: experiences not entertainment

A thought:

Children need experiences, not entertainment, in play. The more kids can do, see, feel and experience for themselves in play, the more connected they will feel to the world, and less overwhelmed.

Kim John Payne (Simplicity Parenting)

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Wednesday photo of the week: crossing


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VIDEO: Columbia Gorge geology

This is a fantastic overview of the geologic history of the Columbia Gorge!

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Wednesday photo of the week: immersed


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Monday thought of the week: all the world

A thought:

Whatever landscape a child is exposed to early on, that will be the sort of gauze through which he or she will see all the world afterward.

– Wallace Stegner

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Nature-based camps for Spring Break 2016

The Portland area has much to offer for kids to learn about many aspects of nature and be active outside. Here’s a list of organizations that offer nature-based camps for Spring Break 2017 (March 27-31). Be sure to contact each place to find out about availability and prices, and please comment below if I have missed any…

Audubon Society of Portland
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (Spring Break at Hancock Field Station, grades 4-8)
Oregon Zoo (no info online yet)
Rewild Portland
Trackers Earth PDX
Tryon Creek State Park
Tualatin Hills Nature Park (Beaverton; p. 166)
Zenger Farm

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Monday thought of the week: attention is the beginning of devotion

A thought:

Teach the children. We don’t matter much. But the children do. Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of the blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin flowers. And the frisky ones – inkberry, lamb’s-quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones – rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms. Attention is the beginning of devotion.

– Mary Oliver, Upstream (New York: Penguin Press, 2016)

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Interview with Metro

In the winter issue of Metro’s Our Big Backyard, I was interviewed for an article about nature and health. Check it out! (online article here; the whole issue PDF includes more photos, pp. 3-5)


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BOOK: Nature’s Day: Discover the world of wonder on your doorstep

I’ve had this book for a little while now, and just getting to posting about it. Geared toward early elementary-aged kids, Nature’s Day invites the reader to explore what can be observed in nature during each of the four seasons. This large format book is organized both by the seasons and where the observing will be done. So, one can decide to learn about nature in the backyard during the fall, or at the pond during the spring, or at the farm during the summer, or in the woods during the winter. The mix and match aspect to how the book is set up is great, as are the many soft and whimsical illustrations by Danielle Kroll throughout. I think this is a keeper on our bookshelf.


Kay Maguire, Nature’s Day: Discover the world of wonder on your doorstep (New York: Wide-Eyed Editions/Quarto, 2016), 80 pp. Illustrated by Danielle Kroll. Hardcover, $24.99.

Publisher’s description This first book of nature helps young readers to discover the world of wildlife on their doorstep. Beginning in spring, this book revisits nine different places, including the farm, the back garden and the woods, during each of the four seasons through the year and explores the changing scenery and animal life found there. Informative and fun texts teamed with gorgeous, decorative illustrations make this the perfect book to celebrate each season with. 

The creators of Nature’s Day also published an activity book, Nature’s Day: Out and About, organized the same way by season and location. Representative activities include collecting various nature items, observing and noting specific things in nature, or how to make something.


NOTE: The author is in England, so some of the plants and animals are representative of English environments. But I don’t think that takes away from people elsewhere being able to enjoy the books.

Purchase these books through the independent Powell’s City of Books or Amazon (affiliate links): Nature’s Day (Powell’s/Amazon) and Nature’s Day: Out and About (Powell’s/Amazon).

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Wednesday photo of the week: family time in Utah

For the holidays, my family and I drove to Houston, TX and back. On our way back we stopped at Arches National Park in Utah for a few hours as a necessary road trip put stop. What a beautiful landscape. Here are some family shots:




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