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Last Updated: Oct 21st, 2011 - 02:11:16

Reviews - Books  

The Nature Connection - Review
By Cynthia Kirkeby
Sep 21, 2011, 21:36 PST

The Nature ConnectionHighly recommended for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

Whether you are a homeschooling parent, a parent interested in seeing your kids get a better experience with natural science, or a teacher trying to figure out an interesting way to integrate science classroom activities and homework, The Nature Connection will actually fill the bill for all three. This outdoor workbook by Clare Walker Leslie will open a world of exploration to kids (and in some cases, parents too.)

The workbook is separated into three sections: How to be a naturalist, learning the sky, and exploring nature – the largest section:

  • The first section, How to be a Naturalist, walks the student through putting together an outdoor adventure kit, including such things as binoculars, field guides, colored pencils, erasers, magnifying glasses, and more; everything needed to explore and record the outdoors. Ms Leslie then leads them through various projects in The Nature Connection that take anywhere from a day to a week to accomplish. Students are encouraged to find a favorite nature spot to explore through the duration of the projects and beyond.
  • Learning the Sky, the second section, reminds kids to look up once and awhile, literally. It walks them through the investigation of clouds, weather, stars, shadows, astronomy, and nocturnal animals. This is one section of The Nature Connection that begs for an secondary journal, and perhaps companion book, to record and expand on the outdoor explorations since it's the shortest of the sections.
  • The final and largest section of The Nature Connection is Exploring Nature, a month-by-month guide. Each month starts with a student's Nature Notes, which chronicles the date, location, temperature, weather, moon phase, etc of the student's explorations. Next the student is encouraged to go on a Nature Quest and see what has changed and what has stayed the same in the outdoors. Are there different birds? Has the weather gotten colder or warmer? Do some of the bushes have berries now? As always, the student is supposed to log what they find.

    There is a spot for the picture of the month in The Nature Connection where the student is encouraged to draw or photograph their surroundings. Another option would be a collage, perhaps with magazine photos and pressed flowers. After that each month's chapter leads you through the exploration of special things that you may see or uncover during that particular time of year.
  • This is an excellent book for so many different uses. It would be a wonderful book to use in a classroom setting, or for a homeschooling textbook. The Nature Connection would also be a great way for parents (or grandparents) to spend some outside time with their kids. This is a highly recommended book. Don't miss this one. You don't even need kids to enjoy it. Feel free to take it on your next trip to Yosemite or just down to the corner nature preserve.

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