(A trail in the redwoods)
A little backstory on this posting. This weekend I was standing on my porch and looking down at the ground cover just below the deck and I noticed that there were strawberries growing down there. Now, I have never planted strawberries down there and they were not there last spring. Now I do have a small planter on the deck that does have strawberries in it. The strawberries on the ground are growing in a semi-circle just below the strawberries on the deck. I began thinking about how they got there. I know I did not drop strawberries down there, but something did. As I began thinking about the birds and animals I have seen on the deck recently, I began thinking about an activity I had done several years ago. It is called linking.
This activity can be done with kids at any age and you can start anywhere. Simply find something that attracts your children's attention. It could be a rock, a plant, an animal, a flower, etc. Then sit there for a second and look for something that is "linked" to the first thing you were looking at. Then, look for a link to that second thing, and then continue linking one thing to another. Do not be too attached to where you are heading, simply allow the links to show themselves.
If you want to be more intentional in this activity, pick an object and then look for things that could or should be linked ecologically or logically. For example, if you are standing in the shade of a tree looking at the grass or clover that is growing there, you might look for signs of rabbits or squirrels that might be eating the grass or clover there. Then, follow the small trail you might see that goes into the small bushes nearby. Chances are is that small consumers that might eat the clover will approach from the closest area of cover, so by looking there, you will find a link. Then peer inside and see if you can find the trails those animals might use. Also look at the ground under the clover/ grass and see if there are consumer trails there such as those of voles or even insect trails that are under the cover of the grass. You are finding links that are ecologically and logically connected to the grass or clover.
You could also begin with the Sun and then follow it anywhere! Or start with a producer and follow it through the food chain to a decomposer. Look nearby a tree and see what is going on below the tree with new growth, decomposition, predators and prey living under there. Pick a starting point and follow the linked trial! Enjoy the exploration!

Websites to checkout:
http://www.groundproductions.com/playagain/gallery.php A site for a new short movie about getting kids reconnected with nature!

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One of the trees seen in Jurassic Park!

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Comment by Suz Lipman on May 26, 2010 at 11:07am
Hi Shawn. This is a wonderful post and a great idea for making those small links that can ultimately lead to a larger connection with nature and all that's around us. Thanks for sharing it!

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