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  • Writer's picturePippa McKinnon

How do we build connections to nature?

I was joined by a brave little robin this morning.

As soon as my work in the garden began, a fluttering of wings came near.

I thought the bird was going to land on my head, so close it’s wings moved the air near my face.

For over 40 years, I have been outdoors in the cycles and seasons, and yet today’s time with the Robin gave me so much new wonder and joy. It was peaceful, exciting and interesting all at once.

The joy of sharing time with a wild creature will always be a highlight in my life. I realize this is one of the fundamental reasons I work with children outdoors. I hope through my work and their engagement, that a life long love and connection to nature will begin.

So whilst I planted and unearthing a feast in the soil, the tiny robin hopped around in front and all around me. Seeing the opportunity of food, collecting insects and grubs, four and five at a time, stuffed in a strong, sharply pointed little beak.

We worked together for three hours without stopping. The Robin flying away to feed young and returning over and over. Feeding a brood is demanding work, it brings out bravery and the hard work of the mighty! This little Robin stood on my trowel, the green bin, my bucket, even on my earth-resting hand, as it watched for food to feed to its babies.

It was a morning of connection, of sharing and experience.

This is not something we can buy. It takes time, hours outdoors, in all weathers, watching, listening, noting and revisiting.

If children can begin to build these connections early in life, there is every hope they can experience and treasure moments like mine today, long into their adult lives.

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