It is common for people who love nature to attribute that reverence to their experiences in early childhood – outings to the park, the woods, the beach, or just around the neighborhood. Seeing a parent or other respected adult express wonder at a beautiful vista, a wild animal, the way a bug walks, or a spider web glistening with morning dew can have a profound effect on a child’s attitude about nature and on how he or she cares for it as an adult.
Point Lobos offers many opportunities for adults to instill their appreciation for nature in the children they bring with them. You can model the behaviors that will enhance the enjoyment of nature – being still, patiently watching, respecting the animals and plants, and celebrating new insights – and help them share the wonder of the place. You can ask questions of them to help them understand what they are seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling. You can ask questions of the docents, or encourage the kids to ask theirs.
The docents can offer an Observation Checklist for you and/or the kids to mark off the plants and animals they see, and brochures they can take home. Be sure to take the kids to the Information Station to touch the pelts and see the skulls of animals. And if you get a chance visit to the Whalers Cabin museum at Whalers Cove, the kids may well enjoy the whale bone yard and a look at the whalers’ tools. There are some good lessons to be had in both places about protecting nature.
Most of all, tailor your visit around what they would like to do and see, keeping in mind the lessons you would like them to learn.
Share the wonder!