Chapter 7 brings three more stories of new deep connections to North Central Washington’s landscapes by three class members. Susan Douglas was our longest-distance commuter, driving 70 miles from Almira where she teaches elementary school science in a rural ranching community.
Each week, Susan transformed her new naturalist learning into hands-on science lessons for her 1st-5th grade students. Take a peek at her young biologists at work in this slideshow that includes planting natives grasses and wildflowers despite four inches of fresh snow! .SDouglasAlmiraElemScience.compressed
Jackie Reynolds put pen to paper and crafted a reflective essay full of insight about her new connections to the Wenatchee Valley. She writes:
The Wenatchee Naturalist class has opened up my eyes to new and wondrous opportunities. The tools presented will be useful and have left me with inspiration to continue to explore in areas I only glanced at before!
Six years ago, my health was challenged and my life, as I had known it, stopped. In my journey during this time I had to reassess my core of beliefs and priorities. It was a very challenging time, but looking back, I see it was also an enlightening experience. Closing the chapter on this journey I gathered seeds of appreciation and gratitude for all things in my life.
Because I took this naturalist class, it has raised my awareness in a new area of my life. I have learned the joys of journaling an experience. I see how important this is to keep the moment with me: journaling amongst the beauty and serenity of areas worthy of exploration.
Being out and present in nature, we are surrounded by miraculous gifts. We learn to use all of our senses. Walking along a riverbank never excited me before. Now I realize there is a whole universe above and below the surface of the water. I have learned to be still and just be in the moment as a gift in front of me unfolds. I allow all of my senses to engage in all that is happening: smelling the earthy scents, hearing the subtle sounds all around, feeling the gentle breezes all while observing the natural flow of a community performing before my eyes.
So in closing, I say thank you for giving me a key to unlock, explore, and enjoy a whole new world with new eyes. Now I will seek out more areas and enjoy all the natural wonders. The class has given me a sense of ownership and protectiveness of our natural habitats. I now know these are gifts we need to preserve for our children and future generations.
Barbara and Robert Brink’s focus was on restoration of their newly built home on a shrub-steppe hillside. T Their slide presentation follows their year of intensive weed control as they encountered wildlife sharing their habitat. BrinkShrubsteppeResotrationatHome.compressed