Mother Nature

By: Mary Nunemaker

Introduction

Imagine sitting in peaceful wood. Sun shines through the magnificent trees around you, as you sit down on a fallen log and take in the elegance of your surroundings with awe. Then within seconds of being in this enchanting forest, you take out you cell phone and proceed to play Flappy Bird. People have grown detached from their surroundings, and gradually forgotten how life changing nature can be. For my father, camp was always something he loved and he has always cherished the connection that he shares with the earth. Learn more about his experience in the interview below.

Mary Nunemaker

Interview by Mary Nunemaker

Benefits of Nature

People have long known the benefits of being in nature, but recently, humanity has dismissed what we’ve previously known. Our natural instincts are to connect to nature, but people, children in particular, have become detached from nature. The result is lowered social skills, increased stress, and become socially detached.

It’s no secret that children and teenagers are experienced more stress in the 21st century than has been reported in past centuries. 54% of teens have admitted to having stress or anxiety. Germany and Japan, have studied and used natural therapy on patients who have reported stress or depression, and have found that the results are lower pulse rates, lower cortisol levels, and other markers of positive improvements in stress. Due to human instinct to be around nature, a simple walk in the woods can reduce stress and have a strong positive effect. If younger people began going outside to relieve stress as well, they will live longer and happier lives.

Additionally, natural surroundings calm and rejuvenate, researchers and conducted a study to test natural environments effects on children with ADD. A hundred kids were put environments with more natural touches, such as houseplants and window views, and we're given a score. Researchers also made note of much time each kid spent outdoors and what kind of activities they were doing. The results were better than expected, not only were the kids who had higher scores much happier, but parents also reported them being more focused. Any child who played a sport was considered to be much more focused and calmer, making them pay more attention.

Richard Louv is the author of Last Child in the woods (2005) and The Nature Principle (2011). He has brought attention to what he believes is a new condition called, nature-deficit disorder. It's the clinical condition where children become detached from nature and disrupts the connection between the child and how they communicate with living things. To test how large the problem is, some kids were sent to a camp that prohibited devices and others went about life as usual. At the beginning and end of the experiment researchers found that kids who turned in their electronic devices were more emotionally aware than kids who had gone about their lives as normal. It was amazing to see a result after just five days. (Summers, Juana)

The connection that man has to nature is strong, but ignoring it will result in any issues, as seen in many people today. If more time was spent in natural environments, young people could lower their stress levels, focus more, and become more emotionally and socially aware of others.

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From the perspective of a pin

Ow. Ow. Ow. OW! With each step my needle sticks deeper into the soft coral sandal of my new owner. Prior to being stuck in someone’s shoe, I was a pin. A pin in the shape of an arrowhead, engraved were the letters CA (Camp Anokijig). My life started as a badge of honor, for an Anokijig Knight. This name means ‘we serve’ in native american, and that’s exactly what a knight does: serve. My beautiful bronze color if full of honor and pride and and I was worn with dignity until one day. I fell. Tumbling to the ground away from the knight wearing me. I should have seen it coming, I’d heard stories of pins falling off all the time, but I’d never thought it would happen to me. So I remained on that same trail for months. Through snow, through autumn leaves, through cool rain, and in the end I was almost completely gone. Buried under the soft earth, until I felt a sharp jerk on my needle. So, here I am: stuck in someone’s shoe. Then I am lifted up and I see the face of the woman for the first time. I am finally relieved of the pain as she gently pulls me out of her shoe. There is a minute where she only looks at, me trying to figure out what I am.

Then she smiles and laughs, and strolls back to the camp to show her family her new little treasure. She tells the story of how she came to find a strange little pin in her shoe. That was the first day in long time I felt I could once again be appreciated.


Recipe for Delicious S'more Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 32 fudge covered graham crackers

  • 6 tablespoons of marshmallow creme

  • A pint of chocolate-chip ice cream


Steps:

  1. Spoon one teaspoon of marshmallow creme on a graham crackers

  2. Add ½ tablespoon of ice cream (Add more as you please)

  3. Top with another graham cracker and place in freezer

  4. After about 3 hours freezing they're finally ready eat!


And there’s a super simple and delectable treat. Perfect for a hot Summer day!