We feel separated from nature, but we walk over whole ecosystems each day that are teeming with life! We never realize what we're missing.
Our basic plan:
Have kids pick a spot in our local natural site — at the side of a hill, or next to a stream, or at the base of an old tree — and mark off a single square foot of it. Look closely into that square foot, paying meticulous attention to the life within it through fall, winter, and spring. Use these squares to get an intimate understanding of biology, chemistry, and physics.
Adults who glimpse a plot of land, and see a teeming ecosystem.
If you walk into a class, you might see:
Kids sprawled out next to their square, drawing just one clover, or an ant, or a worm, or a spider web in exquisite detail.
Kids squatting next to their squares, taking photos of it at many levels.
Kids peering at a sliver of dirt or bit of organic matter through a microscope, and discovering whole new worlds.
Kids cataloging all the species they can spot in their squares, and noting how those species change through the seasons — and noting what eats what!
Kids mapping out the biodiversity of the whole natural site.
(This idea is currently in beta! If you've thoughts on how to make it better, please shoot an e-mail to Brandon at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
To Learn More:
At one point, I read a children's book on all the nature in one square foot of an outdoor space, but I've been unable to find that! If you've seen what I'm talking about, please point me to it!
I've yet to read it, but the photo book A World in One Cubic Foot: Portraits of Biodiversity looks to do something similar.