Nature is truly a natural therapist and it carries no price tag in terms of the work it contributes to protecting our spirits.
In the past, nature played a huge role in rearing Irish children with many hours lost in the freedom of the outdoors. Two studies made newspaper headlines recently identifying how our access and knowledge about wildlife is in jeopardy. One study highlighted how children are more skilled at identifying Pokémon characters than identifying real plants and fauna. While the other documented how ‘three quarters of children in the U.K. spend less time outdoors than prisoners’. Nature is truly a natural therapist and it carries no price tag in terms of the work it contributes to protecting our spirits. No matter how busy our lives are or how much pressure we feel on our shoulders, a grounded space to observe the natural world, acts as a very calming and meditative experience.
All children are inbuilt scientists with heads that have endless space for questioning, concentration and wonder. And we all have a role in promoting their access to the wonders of the natural world. So as a simple measure to counteract sedentary lifestyles, Irish Landmark Trust is encouraging everyone, young and old, to cultivate time in nature breaks this year.
A wonderful book to help you with this consideration and absolutely ideal reading material to pack on any nature escape is ‘Naturama’ by Michael Fewer and illustrated by Melissa Doran. This book will open everyone to the wonders of Irish nature and is a very useful tool to get children rooting for natural artefacts in the hedgerows. The book also has a workbook version by the same authors called ‘My Naturama Nature Journal’ which will keep younger travellers very busy as they negotiate observing, collecting and maintaining the individual details of their own personal journal.
Another book to pack for your nature escape which is certain to ignite a sense of awe and continued wonder about our natural world is ‘A New Map of Wonders. A Journey in Search of Modern Marvels’ by Caspar Henderson. In his book, Henderson captures a striking balance between the scientific understanding of everyday wonders and enjoying those same awe-inspiring wonders simply for what they are. As he states, ‘for there to be science, there must first be wonder’. In it, the natural wonders of life, light, world and self are breathtakingly described and conjure up the rich spell of Earth’s wonders