In an ideal world, all children would have a forest in which they can explore and play. More than books or lectures, a forest gives flight to imagination and gives kids an example of our natural world.
Trees carpet the hillside that climbs behind our home and extend along the river adjacent to the property. Oak trees tower over the surrounding maples, birches, and poplars. Gradually they transition to rugged hemlocks and the occasional white pine as the hillside drops to the local river branch. I walk our dog in the forest just about every morning, either carefully along the hillside, or straight up to the local bike path. It's quietly calm most of the time, and intensely beautiful when the light comes through the trees just right. I grew up in a forest: my family built a home on 26 acres of a wooded hillside at the edge of the Green Mountains of Vermont. Growing up in a rural location meant that seeing friends was more complicated than jumping on a bike and riding over, so we made due. The summer months meant hours of exploration deep in the forest, making our own trails (complete with signs), forts, hideaways and make-believe villages. Even today, a decade and a half after I left home, walking in a forest brings a sense of calm and balance to my mind.
More than books or lectures, a forest gives flight to imagination and gives kids an example of our natural world.
A forest is a brilliant place when you're two. My son and I walk up the steep hillside and into the woods with our dog, and the adventure begins. There are sticks to find on the forest floor, but also sounds of insects, acorns that tumble through the branches and squirrels that chitter away from above as we stomp around. Every time we take a walk, I get the question: "What's that?"
My son and I walk up the steep hillside and into the woods with our dog, and the adventure begins.