My wife and I had the incredible privilege of raising our daughter Lucy on 11 acres of Arkansas forest. She learned to recognize poison ivy and to stay out of tall weeds and grass in the worst of tick and chigger season. We also took regular walks to the top of the mountain outside our front door to a special place we called "where the deer sleep at night." There we could find the circular nests where the deer lay on warm nights feeling the cooling breeze. Lucy would curl up in those spots, feeling kinship with the wild. From that point, you could see the trails radiating through the woods. The regular passage of deer hooves has a way of aligning pine needles making the trails appear luminous in the evening light. I feel deeply troubled for those young Americans who live the whole of their lives indoors and the dangerous lack of sensitivity that their ignorance will present to the future of our planet.
Children for 1,000 generations grew up exploring fields, itching with poison oak and discovering the hard way what a wasp nest looks like. That’s no longer true.
Television and computers are supposed to have an incredible educational potential. But if that education comes through abandonment of our traditional roles as backyard scientists engaged in direct observation of nature we have lost much more than we have gained.