By Marghanita Hughes, Educating the Heart with Nature Art
Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life, Richard Louv’s book, was written to encourage widespread, diverse and accessible action to nature. After reading it, I decided to focus my challenge on finding nature in the city. An upcoming trip to Edinburgh would put my challenge to the test.
Finding nature in the city isn’t difficult, however getting intimate with nature in the city is more of a challenge. My first and most obvious choice was to head to a favorite green space my parents introduced me to when I was very small – the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. The Botanics became our back garden for my husband and me when we lived in the city with our young family before leaving the city to live in the Highlands. My visits to the Botanics inspired me to create this list: How to Rekindle an Intimate Relationship with Nature in the City.
1. Go Find a Park or Garden
There are over 150 parks in Edinburgh City and there are over 800 botanical gardens in the world. A botanical garden is a place where plants, especially ferns, conifers and flowering plants, are grown and displayed for the purposes of research, conservation, and education. The earliest botanical gardens were founded in the late Renaissance at the University of Pisa (1543) and the University of Padua (1545) in Italy, for the study and teaching of medical botany.
2. Find a Tree
Better still, let the tree find you. In the Botanical Gardens, there are so many different species of trees. As a child I was spellbound by the monkey puzzle trees and the Giant Redwoods, little did I know then that I would one day be hugging these gentle giants in their natural habitat.
3. Hug the Tree
I mean really hug the tree. Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly and just relax into the tree. Close your eyes and gently whisper gratitude for the sacred gifts we receive from these beautiful beings.
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran
4. Go Barefoot
I love to go barefoot. “When you walk with naked feet, how can you ever forget the earth?”When we walk barefoot we automatically go slower. We become more observant of our surroundings. We begin to feel more connected, more grounded.
Vitamin N book reference: p37 – Mindful Walking
5. Focus in on Nature
Stop and touch the flowers, smell their fragrant scent. Watch the bees and butterflies arrive. Marvel at the wonder around you in these amazing green spaces.
Vitamin N book reference: p37 “Stop, look and listen more attentively”.
6. Be playful
See the world through the eyes of children – run barefoot, climb a tree, sing with the birds, play hide and seek. Let the inner child loose – dance wild and free! If you're excited about nature your children will be too! These amazing green spaces in our cities offer us all (children and adults) opportunities to get intimate with nature. Wishing you all a beautiful day with nature wherever you are in the world, love, and peace
Marghanita Hughes is a children’s author and illustrator and creator of the award-winning children’s brand, The Little Humbugs. She is a naturalist and founder of the “Let’s Go Outside” Revolution – a Canadian non-profit organization with a mission to change the way children spend their time. Throughout the year, Marghanita runs nature classes for children and "hands on" workshops for educators wanting to learn how they can connect children with the natural world. She strongly believes that all children should be given the opportunity to discover and explore the natural world.
This post was originally published on Educating the Heart through Nature Art website.