So it is with Jake Francis and environmental educators in general. They love what they do. And they can connect with everyone from young children to elderly grandparents.
But formal environmental education programs are just one way to connect with kids. Another way, and a better way, is for parents to make the connection.
Too often parents undervalue their importance. Parents are teachers, heroes and role models to their children. At the time, we may be too busy and too close to see those connections. But parents shouldn't miss out on opportunities to introduce children to nature and the outdoors. Memories of stargazing, backyard campfires, nature hikes and splashing in a cold mountain stream last forever. And those memories form a template upon which future conservationists are formed.
Few of us can live where we can have campfires in the backyard, but everyone can visit nature centers and parks that offer these special evenings. Watch for notices in local newspapers for fall campfires. A campfire on a chilly autumn evening is the best campfire of all.
Send questions and comments to Dr. Scott Shalaway, 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033 or email sshala...@aol.com.