In 2015, the leaders of the retail outdoor equipment Co-op REI made a big decision. They closed their doors on Black Friday, the biggest day in the global retail calendar. Instead, they encouraged their 12,000 employees to Opt Outside (#OptOutside), to reconnect with...
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GOD AND MOTHER NATURE: Mister Rogers and the Gift of the Honest Self

It’s 1993. Fred Rogers enters a noisy hotel lobby, taking pictures of the people who have come to meet him. You realize that you have lowered the volume of your voice. I look down at my son, Matthew, who had turned 6 on the day before Halloween. Normally ebullient and...
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A TREASURE CHEST: What Mothers Leave Behind

My mother, perhaps like yours, gave the gift of nature. I remember her here. The old chest of drawers proved to be a treasure chest. It was a small piece of furniture, perhaps an old washstand, with three drawers. It sat in a storage unit for over a year, and when we...
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Dear Virginia, Time has slipped by, and I’ve been meaning to write to you. I met you about a year and a half ago at a conference of environmental educators in Asheville, North Carolina. You were 11 years old then. Your mother had brought you to one of my sermonettes....
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SINGING FOR BEARS: Reclaiming Our Senses, Including Our Sense of Humility

My son Matthew and I were wading up a stream of Alaska’s Kodiak Island. For a second year, Joe, our guide, was teaching us how to sense the presence of Kodiak brown bears, the largest grizzlies — the ones that can run 35 miles per hour, the ones you cannot...
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ALL CHILDREN NEED NATURE: 12 Questions About Equity & Capacity

The children and nature movement may be more diverse than many others, but it needs even more diversity of ethnicity, culture, abilities and economics. I invite you to join us by becoming a Member of the Children & Nature Network. Your support will help children...
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GOING ON A TECHNO-FAST: Taking a Break from the Virtual World

  On the way out of town, I got the shakes. Well, not the shakes exactly, but I wasn’t a happy pre-camper. My wife, Kathy, and I had committed to four days away from beeping gadgets, ringing phones, sawing neighbors, the on-demand life. It had been too long since...
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