Photo by Susan Hanson

Photo by Susan Hanson

A few weeks ago, my Nature & the Quest for Meaning had a picnic during class at the Crook Park next to the San Marcos Nature Center and across the street from Herbert’s Taco Hut. That’s the same park that the Terry Scholars have adopted and that we keep clean on a regular basis through the Adopt-a-Spot program!

It’s a really lovely park and there’s an area that’s kind of hidden with picnic tables and a cool-looking bridge. There’s also a tree swing that you could use to swing into the river.

It was a pretty nice break from regular class.

"The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places" by Gary Paul Nabhan Stephen Trimble, Introduction by Rober Coles

“The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places” by Gary Paul Nabhan Stephen Trimble, Introduction by Rober Coles

The Geography of Childhoood is a collection of essays written by conservation biologists and seasoned naturalists, Nabham, and Trimble. These essays explore the needs of children to experience nature firsthand and deliver surprising statistics, such as the fact that more than half of American children get their environmental information from the media. Included in the book are childhood experiences of the authors and their own personal experiences with their own children. They describe how their own children react to the world of nature and look at cultures that are closely tied to nature. This book is an interesting read, especially for those who live or work with children. It can also bring about questions about your own childhood experiences with nature. Many of these questions will remain unanswered.

This book, categorized in psychology and nature, also includes photographs that were taken by Stephen Trimble. The photographs are speckled throughout the book, generally appearing on each cover page of each new chapter. The photographs generally feature children in nature and show their joyful expressions and contemplative statures. These photographs only enhance the inner message of the book.

Personally, I enjoyed this book as it brought up many interesting thoughts about children and their experiences with nature. I found myself underlining and highlighting as I read and contemplating over what I had just read. Many questions were brought up that I enjoyed thinking over. I enjoyed the scientific research and statistics that this book provided and was intrigued with Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble’s findings. As a future educator, I was very interested on their thoughts on public education and how formal education is often thought to be more valuable than personal experience. As a future educator and possible parent someday, I hope to implement some of what I’ve learned from this book in my teaching and parenting styles. Children need nature in their lives and I hope to preserve that belief.

“Simply put, we are concerned about how few children now grow up incorporating plants, animals, and places into their sense of home.”
Nabhan and Trimble, xi

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There were over 4,000 Bobcat Build volunteers this year!

Here at Texas State University, we take pride in our close-knit community. Texas State and San Marcos have a symbiotic relationship, just as the San Marcos River and the animals that call it home do. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish off-campus from on-campus as the campus likes to inhibit random buildings around the city, even far away from central campus. Because of this close relationship with our surrounding town, we like to give back and dedicate a day of service to the residents of San Marcos. This day is known as Bobcat Build.

Bobcat Build was started in 2002 and was inspired by Texas A&M University’s Big Event. Today, Bobcat Build is the second largest one-day community service project in the state of Texas, only shadowed by A&M’s service day. Bobcat Build continues to grow each year and had over 4,000 volunteers this past year.

I participate in Bobcat Build every year as a Terry Scholar. This year was no different and I arrived at the Strahan Coliseum Parking Lot before 8:00am, ready to work.

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It was a forest of cactus!

“It was a cactus forest!”

In a previous post, I mentioned that my Nature & the Quest for Meaning class took a tour along Prospect Park Trail, a trail maintained by the Greenbelt Alliance, and learned all about pitching a hammock in order to better enjoy the natural areas of San Marcos. That wasn’t all that we learned, though.

After carpooling through a neighborhood area, we all pulled up to a tiny path sticking out at the end of a road with a man standing on it. The man was Todd Derkacz, a member of the Greenbelt Alliance and our tour guide for the day. He greeted all of us as we piled out of our cars and began to lead us down the path. As we first started walking, I was absolutely amazed at all of the cactus that were around. It was a cactus forest! That’s one thing about Texas that I’m actually not very fond of…I’d rather live in an area where I don’t have to see the dry, spiky plants.

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Most people think I’m pretty weird when I step outside, a gust of wind blows by, and I throw my arms about and exclaim, “I hate you, wind!” I really just don’t like wind, though…There’s a few reasons why:

1. It Messes Up My Hair – All girls should agree with me on this one…I’ve got pretty long hair and I never pull it back or wear it up. I like my hair down and out of my face, but for some reason, wind does not agree with me. Wind would rather blow my hair all over the place, pulling it up into the air, right in front of my face, or even whipping it into the faces of people around me. It gets so bad sometimes that I’ll walk backwards or sideways to get the hair out of my face. This always makes it difficult to put my bike helmet on. I can’t put a helmet on my head when my hair’s being blown into several different directions, so I’ll have to face the wind to blow my hair backwards and try to herd it into my helmet. To top it all off, when I finally get indoors, my hair is super frizzy, knotted, and overall, a crazy, unkempt mess.

2. It Ruins Outdoor Picnics – I love the outdoors. I would love the outdoors even more if there wasn’t wind. I enjoy restaurants that offer outdoor seating and I like having a home with an outdoor patio set and living in a residence hall with an outdoor balcony with tables and chairs. These are all useless, though, if there’s wind. It’s hard to eat outdoors when there’s wind blowing around. You can’t keep anything in place, especially napkins and paper plates and cups. For a little while, food and drink will keep your plates and cups in place, but once you reach the end of the meal, your plates will start lifting up, and your cups will start turning over. Plus, your napkin will constantly be trying to fly away, and it’s difficult to use when it’s tucked under your plate, especially if your plate is trying to fly away, as well. I wish wind would leave me alone when I’m trying to eat outside.

3. It Makes it Feel Colder – Wind likes to complicate things so much that it even messes with our temperature. Because of wind we not only have to talk about the actual temperature, but also have to talk about the wind chill and the “feels like” temperature. It could be a comfortable 65 degrees outside, but throw in some wind, and it’s a cold 55 degrees. This is even worse if it’s already cold outside! Leave me alone, wind, it’s cold enough, already!

4. It Makes it Harder to Walk – I’m a pretty small person, so wind likes to bully me and push me around. On a really windy day, it can be pretty hard for me to walk around. I want to go one way, but the wind wants me to go another way. Take some hills into consideration and the situation gets even worse, especially when I’m on my bike. It’s already a struggle riding a bike up a steep hill, but it’s even worse when the wind is pushing against me.

5. It Can be Dangerous – One of my biggest fears is tornadoes. That’s just a cyclonic tunnel of deadly wind! Wind can get pretty strong and really be destructive and hurtful when it comes to storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Storms really terrify me and when I hear the wind really starting to pick up, I can’t help but get worried. Many lives have been changed because of wind, and generally, not for the better. Entire cities have even been destroyed because of wind. Think of all the money spent in hurricane and tornado relief…Wind is a monster.

So, wind and I don’t have a very good relationship. I’m not very fond of it and it’s not very fond of me as it constantly messes with me and annoys me. As it stands right now, I hate wind.

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