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Pathmaps: Nature Visualization
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For: Lower, Middle, Upper School
Pathmaps Point: Relationships
Summary: This exercise helps students evaluate and develop their connections to the natural world by invoking their memories as a springboard.

Ask students to close their eyes or otherwise quiet down and calm their bodies. Then ask them to think about their earliest or their clearest memories of being in a primarily non-"manmade" environment. Allow 1-2 minutes, or sufficient time depending on age group, for them to reflect. At a point when most have probably identified their earliest or clearest memory, the teacher may ask students to remember any smells or sounds that may be associated with the memory to make the experience richer. Were they alone or with others? Are the feelings that they associate with the experience positive or negative? Did they feel at home in their surroundings or ill at ease? Did their feelings differ in any significant way from when they are in more urban environments? If so, how?

If time permits, have students draw pictures or journal briefly about the memory. Invite student volunteers to share their memories with the group.

The exercise may be followed by a discussion of human beings and their relationship to nature. To what extent do we rely on the natural world remaining pure? To what extent is it "there for us to use"? What is the proper balance? If we have gone overboard, what can we do to try to make up for our transgressions? Is it important for our health to spend time in natural environments? If so, why?


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