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CINDY DAY: Learning is the way to grow

Perfect fall weather, curious young minds and teachers who care: my walk in the woods with this group of students from Musquodoboit Valley Education Centre was just what I needed. - Photo by passionate parent, Anne Warburton
Perfect fall weather, curious young minds and teachers who care: my walk in the woods with this group of students from Musquodoboit Valley Education Centre was just what I needed. - Photo by passionate parent, Anne Warburton - Contributed

I’ve always believed that nature is a giant classroom, and that Mother Nature is the best teacher of all.

On Tuesday, I had a chance to put that to the test. After a good breakfast and a quick shower, off I went to Nova Scotia’s scenic Musquodoboit Valley.

Just before 10 a.m., I met up with fourth and fifth graders from the Musquodoboit Valley Education Centre; we gathered at the McCurdy Woodlot, behind their school. Students had started to discuss weather lore as part of the weather unit; they asked if I would come along for a walk and talk. Off we went …

There is no better place to talk and learn about the weather than outside. That morning, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the late-season grass was wet underfoot. In no time at all, students were chanting, “morning dew on the grass, rain will never come to pass.”

As we made our way from one clearing to the next, some kids ran ahead while others stayed close by, eager to learn more. We had been talking about weather instruments and how to measure the weather, so I decided to ask a few of them if they had a favourite type of weather.

A lovely, young lady named Danika was quick to point out: “I love Hurricanes; they give me a chance to study the weather.” Keep an eye out for Danika. She’s passionate about nature and wants to bring her message to people through song and dance. I believe she will!

When we arrived at the next meeting point, I noticed of few of the kids had been collecting acorns and were admiring the various sizes; the woodlot floor was covered in acorns. I was about to comment when Kaden Dillman, a sharp, young dairy farmer, asked if there was any truth to the rumours that we were in for a snowy winter? What timing. Grandma believed that if fruit and nuts were plentiful in the fall, we should expect a hard winter.

Far too soon, our walk in the idyllic setting was winding down. The trails are part of the Natural Resources Education Centre. The NREC is dedicated to helping children connect with, appreciate, and understand our place in nature.

There was a very nice vibe in the woods that day. I had to rush back to work and the rest of my day was very busy, but that walk with the students was good for my soul. I headed back with clean air in my lungs, inspired by the beauty of the woods, but even more so by the young minds that were so connected to nature.

To those special teachers and parents who go out of their way to make learning fun and to inspire young minds, thank you!



Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.

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