For the Love of Nature

Helen, Jo, and Claire out for a nature walk with dad.

Nature is incredibly important because it affects everything. Nature cleans the air so we can breathe, generates food so we can eat. It cleans water for us to drink. As young kids our dad was an advocate for all things in nature. Maybe it was his name......Francis. Saint Francis was the Patron Saint of animals, birds and ecology.

My dad, while volunteering as a Rotarian, helped to create Augusta, Maine's Nature Science Camp for kids in the 1960's. Now it's called Augusta Nature Camp. He helped the Rotary Club procure the property that is now a nature preserve for Augusta residents to enjoy for ever. My dad wanted to see the people of Augusta have a place to appreciate natural surroundings in a city setting.

Along with the nature preserve came a science camp for kids. My sisters and I were some of the first campers to attend the nature camp. Mrs. Marilyn Mollicone was our wonderful camp director. We went to every session of the 2 week camp. We had no choice. Our dad was on the board of the camp and our mum wanted us out of the house all summer. We had very smart parents!

At Nature Camp, we learned how to identify trees and plants, recognize bird calls, took hikes in the woods rain or shine, observed animals in their natural habitat, held baby snakes, created art with natural materials, had treasure hunts that included sharks teeth, and so much more. We sat outside to eat lunch every day and talked about how nature was important. Some of the lessons I learned here have carried with me my whole life. I enjoy bird watching to this day!

I loved when our dad would take us for walks in the woods sharing his knowledge of all things natural. He could identify so many more plants and bird calls than us. I can see him now with the big binoculars around his neck. I can hear him today trying to quiet us down so that we could listen to our surroundings. Dad knew what he was doing, instilling nature into all of us.

So get outside and go for a walk. Bring your binoculars and remember to stay quiet. And share it with someone you love. Nature is all around us. Think about ways you can preserve it for future generations. I am thankful for my love of nature.


Smile and Be Kind,

Claire



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