Being aware of the natural world is a trait shared by many of the folks who trek with us on our week-long backpacking and canoe trips. Whether it is a family making an initial connection with their national park lands, such as Yellowstone, or return clients reconnecting with a favorite ponderosa pine forest, red rock canyon or high country lake, being outside in the Big Wild is more than a physical adventure. It can also be an adventure of the soul and intellect.
In a culture of increased technological awareness, let’s not leave behind essential knowlege of our natural surroundings. The Girl Scouts will help young women to do just this. But perhaps you haven’t ignored this essential knowledge. Maybe you and your family and friends can already trace the water you drink from precipitation to your tap, or know the average rainfall in your area. You might know what direction rain and snow storms come from, and the last time a fire burned the area where you live. If your are a gardener you may know the length of the growing season, edible native plants, which grasses are native, and how these plants relate to each other. On hikes, you might point out which native spring wildflowers are among the first to bloom in your area.
Kids you hang out with may know the finalists on American Idol, but do they also know the primary geological event or process that influences the landform where you live and what soil series you stand on? Can they name their favorite fictional characters and 5 resident and 5 migratory birds in your area? Can you?
Quick, point north from where you are sitting. How many days until the moon is full? Being well-rounded makes us interesting and better prepared to face life’s inevitable challenges. Just as certain species and landscapes have become extinct where you live, certain experiences are also becoming extinct. Consider turning off the screens and turning on reality. Go outside. Be wild.