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Chiara

Hello from Columbia, Maryland

By Chiara D'Amore

This “post card” reflects on the “senders” experiences of playing in nature during her childhood, her return to that same community with children of her own, observations about changing patterns of children’s free-play in nature, and the inspiration for and experiences of creating a family nature club to help families in her community connect with their social and ecological communities.

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Cultivating Connection and Care – The Case for Family Nature Clubs

By Chiara D'Amore

This article briefly summarizes a body of research in which love is understood to be at the core of three primary life experiences that foster life-long care for the environment: time in nature, especially during childhood; close role models for care of nature; and participation in an organization that fosters direct learning about nature. From this foundation, family nature clubs are presented as having a fairly unique capacity to offer all of these experiences. The family nature club founded by the author, Columbia Families in Nature, is described in some detail, including photos and quotes from the participants and summary results from research on the broad effects of family nature clubs is presented. All together, the case is made that family nature clubs are a ripe opportunity for communities to cultivate connection, care, and love between people and the natural world.

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