So today's average child can identify over 300 corporate logos - but only 10 plants ad animals native to where that kid lives. Yikes! Will humans a generation from now not care about the environment?
Not if Jacob Rodenburg and Drew Monkman can help it! They are co-authors of the brand new Big Book of Nature Activities (June, 2016 - New Society Publishers). It's 384 pages are packed with games, crafts, stories and science-strong activities guaranteed to get the most resistant kid away from the screen and outdoors, discovering. Oriented to help parents, teachers and enviro-educators open nature's wonder-gifts just enough to excite a child's curiosity, this book combines it's creators' experience in all these adult roles.
Organized to convey key ecological concepts like phenology - natural changes through the seasons - nature learning-play using this guide will build sound science knowledge (painlessly) by engaging our human senses and fueling curiosity, kids' engine of learning. Happily, in the natural world, there is no end to what we can discover, about our Earth and - in relationship to nature - about ourselves. At any age, but especially in childhood. And we need this connection, this "Vitamin N," for kids of all ages today.
Check it out as a fun companion on your summer adventures. Earthworms bets you'll keep this BIG Book around, year-round. Enjoy!
Music: Sweet Georgia Brown - whistled live at KDHX by Randy Erwin, June 2010.
Related Earthworms Conversations: In 'Toon, Greenly, with Poet and Enviro-Cartoonist Joe Mohr (November 2015)
Ed Maggart and Experiential Education (March 2015)
Mayors of large and small towns along the Mississippi's 2500 flowing miles are championing this region's economic, security and ecological interests on the world stage.
Mayor members of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative presented this month at the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit. They participated in the COP-21 Paris Climate Talks last December, advocating for ecologically sound river basin management. MRCTI Mayors have been instrumental in hammering out and recruiting signatories to an "International River Basin Agreement to Mitigate Climate Risk by Achieving Food and Water Security."
These are Mayors of towns like St. Paul, Minnesota, Dubuque, Iowa, Gretna, Louisiana. An MRCTI founder is St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. Many of these individuals have "regular jobs" in addition to serving as Mayors. They are working together - and with leaders from towns and nations around the world - to safeguard water quality, advocate for sustainable development, and promote river economy in concert with environmental protection. Quite the gig!
Colin Wellenkamp, MRCTI Executive Director, reports to Earthworms about this extraordinary, influential work: how it's evolving, and a bit about what it's like for individuals who have "run for Mayor" and are working, influentially, in a global way.
Music: Balkan Twirl - performed live at KDHX by Sandy Weltman and the Carolbeth Trio, June 2009
Related Earthworms Conversations: Mighty Mississippi Gets a Report Card - October 2015
From deep family roots, across several stretches of grassland acreage, "Regenerative Farming" practices are yielding right livelihood (including a reasonable $$ living) for the human, animal and ecological partners in the enterprise Farmer Girl Meats.
Earthworms guest Leslie Moore is a third-generation farmer girl who, like many of her time and place, left a life on the the land for the city. Surprise! She's back, and putting to super-smart use her urban experience and degrees in biology, business and marketing. On the rising local food tide, Leslie joined her family's forces with a select group of farming friends and neighbors and launched a unique business to "get more good meat on more plates."
The business model of Farmer Girl Meats keeps both process and economic quality high, by delivering pasture-raised meats (beef, pork, lamb, and poultry) directly to customers. And Leslie's passion for the synergies of grass, soil, animals, health and the power of cooperating people sings through her explanation of wholistic land management, for the health of all involved and - most importantly - the land.
The only thing you won't find in this conversation is the taste of Farmer Girl's craft meat products. We'll leave that element up to you!
Music: Audrey's Bounce, performed live at KDHX by the Western Satellites (2014)
Related Earthworms Conversations:
Serena Cochran on Humane Farming (April 2014)
Want to start an urban garden? Or grow your garden-sized enterprise into a feeding others, providing livelihood for yourself urban FARM? There's a brand new "toolkit" in town for you. Melissa Vatterott, Food & Farms Coordinator for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment returns to Earthworms to present the topics covered in this guide.
Urban Ag issues include ordinances (the City Chicken Limit), water access (can you tap into a neighboring property's hose bib, or do you need to install a costly water line?), and zoning for types of structures (tool sheds, high tunnels) and location-specific land usage.
Opportunities, on the other hand, are great - and growing - in the St. Louis region! We have lots of vacant land, the climate for three-season food production, good soil, and abundant water, even in times of drought. We have partnerships like these toolkit supporters in the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition: Gateway Greening and Lincoln University Cooperative Extension. And we have leaders like Melissa Vatterott, cultivating data along with berries, greens and carrots, to ensure the viability and fund-ability of our growing Urban Farming culture.
Dig into the new Guide to Urban Agriculture and Urban Farming in St. Louis - and help yourself, your neighborhood and your local farmers grow capacity to feed our region!
Music: Magic 9, performed live by the Infamous Stringdusters, at KDHX in June, 2011.
Related Earthworms Conversations:
Melissa Vatterott on the St. Louis Regional Foodshed Study - December 29, 2015.
LaVista Farmer Crystal Stevens (Earthworms' farmer!) - July 29, 2015
Farming on a Downtown Roof: Urban Harvest STL - June 30, 2015
Pawpaw, America's Forgotten Fruit - September 30, 2015
Project Garlic: Crop-Sourcing the Super-Bulb - October 13, 2015
Kids in Waldorf school prepare their own snacks, often from food they have grown in their school garden! They cultivate learning for Head, Hands and Heart. They learn by telling stories, from Fairy Tales in first grade to Viking Tales in fourth. Athletics include the classic Greek events of the pentathlon. Media-based learning is extremely limited. Waldorf graduates are 50% more likely to go into sciences and math compared to the national average. Art and Music weave through every school experience, and Nature is a major teacher.
Kelly Childs, St. Louis Waldorf School parent and board member, shares her experience and knowledge about this internationally recognized educational "alternative" with Earthworms' Jean Ponzi. Among the many practical to deeply philosophical elements of Waldorf education in this conversation, Kelly's favorite is that students - her two children and their friends - are going through school LOVING learning.
Plus, these young humans are growing up loving (and loving to learn about) nature.
What a concept!
The Waldorf School of St. Louis invites adults to a workshop on Saturday June 11, 9 a.m. to noon, on "Awakening Empathy in the Heart of Community." featuring Dr. John Cunningham, proponent of nonviolent communications and compassionate communication.
Music: Who Gives by Brian Curran, performed at KDHX December 2015.