Friday, January 9, 2015

Nature Mentoring Tip # 9: Open Senses & Expand Awareness

In the countdown to the March 24th release of "How to Raise a Wild Child," here is #9 in the Top 10 Nature Mentoring Tips!

Nature Mentoring Tip #9

Whether wandering, sit spotting, or just hanging out in nature, it’s important to fully open your senses and expand your awareness to everything around you. Encourage the children you’re with to do the same. To begin, play with Deer Ears and Owl Eyes. Deer have amazing hearing, thanks in part to their very large ears, which capture the faintest of sounds. Try having children (or adults) cup their hands behind their ears and notice the difference in the sounds they can pick up. Ask them to figure out the most distant sound they can hear, and the total number of different sounds they can identify. Similarly, owls have amazing eyesight (and hearing). In this case, invite kids to soften their vision so that they can see as much as possible in multiple directions. Ask them to look straight ahead and move their outstretched hands forward from behind their heads to find the point where their hands first come into view. What is the most distant thing they can see? Then, on subsequent visits outdoors, pause once in a while to remind kids to use their Deer Ears and Owl Eyes. The mentor’s role is to continually push the boundaries of the child’s sensory sphere, helping her to see, hear, feel, touch, and smell the everyday nature that surrounds us.

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)


  1. Love your focus on teaching this stuff to kids. If they don't learn to love Nature, they won't care to protect it.
    Your Deer Ears reminds me of another trick: keeping silent while rounding a bend in path or creek, and spotting the critters before they spot (or smell) you.
    Keep up the great work, Scott!

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