To enjoy our forests, we need to start by protecting. Together with our children, let's protect the wildlife that nurtures us so much; let's protect biodiversity. Every day and since childhood. Because they will be ambassadors of sustainability, respect and care for our environment. Because they will do it from conscience and love. Love towards what is alive, towards what surrounds us and towards what we are. Because we are nature. Therefore, on this occasion I propose some simple actions to carry out to connect children with wildlife around you.
How can we bring the importance of wildlife closer to our children? How to raise awareness about the importance of wild flora and fauna? I propose five actions to carry out with your boys and girls:
1. Bird Observatory
When the milder and warmer weather begins to arrive, the birds also begin their journeys to get closer to spending spring and summer in our country. The migrations of thousands of birds begin, thus putting the note of color, movement and life in the blue skies. Swallows, Bonelli's eagles, common planes, storks, Egyptian vultures… welcome!
Take your bird guide, your binoculars and go to a bird observatory. In Spain, which is where I live, there are almost 600 Special Protection Areas for Birds.
2. Gather. Let's harvest!
Although it is also time to plant ... it is also time to harvest! Find out what vegetables and fruits, mushrooms or berries, are common in your territory. Tangerines, wild asparagus, pomegranates, kiwis, potatoes, or even peas!
Always remember to thank and if there are parts that you are not going to use (shells, skin ...) you can take advantage of it to start a compost bin.
3. Identification of footprints and traces
There are many field guides who specialize in wild animal tracks and tracks. How about taking a walk and paying attention to those footprints or trails? Can you identify what they ate? What animals are they? What kind of traces have you found?
4. Create nest houses for birds
Very soon the birds will begin to create their nests or look for places to begin their breeding stage. Creating a nesting box can be a gift that a bird will surely appreciate. Just remember some important considerations when you go to place the nesting boxes:
- Look for a quiet and discreet location, if it can be somewhat camouflaged among the foliage of branches, if possible away from many noises and roads.
- They should not be exposed to direct sun or throughout the day, especially in areas with high temperatures. Let's look for areas where the branches can protect them from the sun and offer shade.
- We will try to place them as high as possible to avoid predators and also offer greater peace of mind.
5. Forests without litter
Beach, mountain, forest ... in nature many times we find waste that should not be there such as plastic remains, bottle caps, cans ...
I encourage you to go with your children on a regular basis to clean the natural environment. Bring some gardening gloves and some bags to be able to separate the waste you find. And even if you prefer, you can also take tweezers to catch the waste. It is an activity that they tend to like a lot because it is like 'fishing' for garbage; an activity of the simplest and that will not leave anyone indifferent.
Although the ideal is to go out into nature on a daily basis, our lifestyles sometimes make it difficult. But there are several actions that we can do on a daily basis with our children to raise awareness about the importance of protecting nature.
On this occasion I propose that during the time that you establish, choose each member of the family a green share that you will carry out and keep in mind during that time. It is said that to change habits the human being needs 21 days in a row doing that new habit that we want to incorporate ... what do you think of that time?
Some ideas of green actions could be:
- Save energy
I will be more responsible for turning off the lights when they are not being used.
- Save water
I will pay attention to closing the taps while they are not being used, let's replace the toilets with showers ... Any gesture to save water is valid.
- I reuse materials
Whenever I can, I will reuse materials instead of using more and new resources.
- Waste separation
I will be more aware of the waste that surrounds my environment and I will contribute to the cleaning of the natural environment.
As you can see, there are several proposals that invite us to get closer to nature and to reflect on our role and place in it. As the biologist John Piccolo says 'We are not apart, but a part of nature' (Piccolo, 2017).
Actions that call to enjoy the biodiversity of wild fauna and flora that surrounds us and the wonderful ecosystems and natural landscapes that we need and have the responsibility to care for and protect.
Earth is home to countless species that interact with the environment. Historically these interrelationships have been such that thanks to them we are here: the air we breathe, the food we eat, the materials we use ... However, inappropriate human actions and, sometimes, little controlled, are producing that currently there is a high percentage of species in danger of extinction.
In December 2013, the UN General Assembly decided to proclaim March 3 as World Wildlife Day to promote awareness of the value of wild fauna and flora. As the report 'Life of Terrestrial Ecosystems' explains within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, forests cover 31% of the Earth's surface and around 1,600 million people around the planet depend on them for their subsistence . Taking into account that they give us air, water, food (and much more), their care is essential.
This seems like something big, so big that sometimes it could be overwhelming and even something far away for society and, more specifically for children, it is easy to approach. And not only easy, it is, above all, necessary. Why raise awareness about the importance of wild fauna and flora, About what surrounds us, that great biodiversity that is often threatened and in danger of extinction, is as simple as making small gestures. Daily, everyday, habitual, continued over time. Gestures that bring us closer to what surrounds us; that bring us closer to their problems and little by little make us active protagonists of actions that protect the natural environment.
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