Putting children in touch with nature
There is a magical place here in Delaware County that inspires children of all ages (young and old) and we are so fortunate to have this incredible resource: Stratford Ecological Center. It’s not just the center with its excellent educational programs and outreach to school children or their amazing and dedicated staff — it’s the call of the wild deep in our souls that beckons us to explore this gorgeous farm and woodlands.
This organic farm and nature preserve nestled on 236 acres of open fields and wooded land is sandwiched between Liberty Road and U.S. 23 just south of Delaware. I recently had the opportunity to view their latest informational video and was nearly brought to tears with how touching and truthful I found the message conveyed to be: getting children back in touch with nature.
Do you have a minute to watch it online? You’ll be glad you did. Not only are the images so striking, but the song which was recorded with a group of children by local singer-songwriter Jenny Morgan just might lift you right off the ground it’s so sweet. Search for Nature Needs Kids on YouTube or go to the Stratford Ecological Center website and click on “Galleries” to find the video there.
I did some research on Morgan and found NatureNeedsKids.com, which is a fun site full of great information about resources to get kids back outside. She was inspired by the bestselling book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Kids from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv and wrote and recorded songs which are compiled in her new CD Nature Needs Kids and Kids Need Nature. She is also founder and co-chair of the Leave No Child Inside Central Ohio Collaborative (information on the website).
Take some time and get out to Stratford and spend some time, whether you bring the kids or grandkids or just the spirit of nature in you. Visitors can wander the four miles of trails, watch for turtles at the lake or skip rocks in the creek. You can try to identify the plump produce and greens in the garden and even pick-your-own in the greenhouse. Then take a peek in the big red barn and make friends with the goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, barn cats and llamas (well I don’t know about being friends with a llama, but they sure are fun to watch).
For more information, call 740–363-2548. They are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Stop in the Center to say hello and make a donation of $2 per person or $5 per family. As the lyrics of the song in the video says: “Turn off the tube; turn off the games. Walk outside and make a difference today.”
Tuesday Trippier lives in Delaware, is a writer and mother of four with a special interest in green living.