These days learning about nature is inextricably connected to education on environmental issues like climate change. Our environment is becoming a hot topic amongst global leaders and is a growing concern for most adults as we watch catastrophic news reports in the media.
If we are to succeed in slowing the chain reaction that is climate change, we have to educate our children about the natural world. Fortunately there is a rather simple solution - children are innately curious and eager to learn about their environment. As our urban centres grow we become more cemented into built-up spaces, tarred roads and boxed patches of manicured lawns. At The Character Company we spend a significant time of our programme with our boys, outdoors and most of that time is spent on camp.
For us, camping is a lot more than sitting around a campfire, talking. We believe that boys thrive when given the chance to climb trees, traverse a rock face or splash into a deep, cool river pool. It’s been said that humans are biophiles at heart, and we can see it time and time again. Our new boys who attend their first Bonzai Adventure Camp are initially hesitant and by lunch-time they are excitedly chatting about what they saw, smelled, tasted, felt, or heard on their morning hike. Many of our boys will find insect exo-skeletons, feathers or unusual rocks and this creates a sense of adventure… what will we see or find on our next hike?
Getting boys excited about nature is easy… and part of our programme helps them translate that enthusiasm into action. We talk to our boys about being kind to the environment by reducing their consumption of items, reusing goods like plastic bags and recycling bottles and cans. Often as part of this programme we create an activity around this, it’s a great way to spark their imaginations and its fun racing our “gar-bage” boats down a country stream!
As global citizens we share the duty of imparting our love for the South African fauna and flora onto all our children. Learning to love the environment provides boys with a number of key opportunities to become engaged in real world issues that transcend their communities. They can see the relevance of this experience in their own education of the complex environmental challenges confronting our planet. We hope this inspires them to keep pursuing the skills they need to be creative problem solvers and powerful advocates.