Have you ever heard the phrase “Nature Intelligence” and wondered what it means? In the simplest terms, Nature Intelligence is a phrase that is often used to refer to a keener awareness of the natural world. Another useful way of thinking of the concept is “nature smarts.”
On her resource page about Nature Intelligence, educator Leslie Owen Wilson highlights a few key features of Nature Intelligence. They include:
Fostering Nature Intelligence can be challenging in the modern world. As naturalist Richard Louv highlights in his book, Last Child in the Woods, a number of factors, including easy access to technologies, shrinking nature spaces, and phobias about dirt and disease, have made it harder for families to get outdoors.
Nonetheless, nature intelligence is a vital skill for child development. Here are a few reasons why:
When thinking about how to foster your child’s Nature Intelligence, it’s important to remember that simply learning about nature through books isn’t enough. Experts emphasize that kids need regular close-up experience in the outdoors.
Nature Intelligence is multi-sensory, and involves touch, smell, sight, and hearing. Kids benefit from getting to observe and explore on their own terms.
Finally, it's important to note that you don't have to go far to foster your kid's sense of Nature intelligence. No matter how dense the urban environment, there's nature all around you if you take the time to notice. There's as much to learn from the ants on the sidewalk as there is from a dramatic waterfall. The key is providing that space and time for your kids to go out an explore.
Want to learn more about Nature Intelligence? Here are a few resources to get you started:
Bryna R. Campbell