Teaching Boobaby About the Environment Before She’s Two

by doodaddy on October 15, 2007


Boobaby Likes Sticks

Y’all know that the North Pole has melted, right? That huge expanse of ice that used to make it impossible to sail from Europe to Alaska (’cause you’d want to?) breaks up every summer and it’ll pretty much be done and gone before our kids grow up.

I only ask because when I was telling Boobaby about it the other day, she gave me a blank stare. She’d missed every single New York Times article about global climate change and slept through An Inconvenient Truth. Clearly I have failed in my teaching of media awareness.

But what my baby lacks in facts about the global warming crisis she makes up for in enthusiasm: she loves being outdoors. I’d like to take credit for her environmental leanings; after all, I was a naturalist before I became a stay-at-home dad. But I’m the first to admit that I suck at teaching toddlers; I just never had to do it. As an outdoor educator, I usually taught older kids, from around age 8. Toddlers never came out on field trips; I really had no idea what to do with a baby and nature.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

This post is part of Blog Action Day: The Environment

So I figured it out, week by week. Drawing on my past as a nature teacher and making the rest up as I go along, Boo and I have had lots of meaningful nature experiences:

  • Bugs. Famously, we search for bugs, a pastime that has earned us friends all over.
  • Berries. Boo prefers to eat ’em right off the vine, even when the ones from the store look a lot better.
  • Flowers. Boo has learned to touch flowers rather than pick them. (Thanks to Edna St. Vincent Millay for that idea.)
  • Rocks. Since she’s learned not to eat them, Boo’s discovered that rocks make marks on the sidewalk, can be ground down on other rocks, and act as a pretty decent drumstick.
  • The list goes on: leaves, trees, water, birds.

I know that getting Boobaby to play with rocks and flowers isn’t going to change the world in any measurable way. It’s just that teaching is what I’m best at — it’s the only thing I’m good at, really — and so that’s where I’m going to have to make my contribution.

And I’m going to pass it on by committing myself to describing our learning process. Boobaby and I explore nature weekly; I’m going to write something once a week about how we’re doing it. I’m envisioning a sort of “how-to” column: for example, I’m going to start next week with…

“How to dig for bugs with a two-year old”

I know that it’s a pittance compared with the real environmental champions out there, but it’s what I can do. I hope it’ll do somebody at least a little bit of good someday.

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in nature,stay-at-home dad,teaching,the future ·

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn October 15, 2007 at 6:31 am

No, it’s good – We all glaze over when the information isn’t immediately relevant – you’ve made it relevant to your audience.

(So did I, go check it out. Hee Hee.)


Xbox4NappyRash October 16, 2007 at 3:54 am

Nothing to do with your entry but yet again well done with the photograph.

You seem you consistantly capture her wonderfully well technically and artistically.


aimee/greeblemonkey October 16, 2007 at 8:34 pm

Great idea!


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