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We hear and feel the wind, see the warblers, touch the soft moss, and taste a wild blackberry. Again Mr. Louv, “The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”

Our wild places are natural learning laboratories for adults and children: Science: “Look at this heart-shaped leaf. We will identify it when we get home.” Conservation: “We won’t keep the live shells, only the empty ones. Math: “Let’s measure the fish to be sure it is legal length.” Respect for wildlife: “We’ll put the plastic soda rings in the trash so a bird won’t get caught in them. And best of all, Conversation: “Why do you think the sky is blue?” Experiences in nature create lasting memories and may take only a moment: Watch a sunset, listen to a bird sing, or inhale the sweet scent of honeysuckle.

Our parks, forests and beaches are full of nature’s playthings. When children and adults venture outdoors, neither can resist skipping a stone across a lake, picking up a colorful leaf, or building a sand castle on a beach. Nature itself provides the entertainment and any noise is the sound of laughter.

Those of you who understand nature’s cathartic benefits can stem this growing fear of our natural world. Otherwise indifference will lead to further neglect and destruction. As John Muir said, “Most people are on this world, not in it.” Questions, suggested topics or comments e-mail Lee at • July 2014 • 13

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