"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, one finds it attached to the rest of the world."

John Muir









Please check out the website below.

Eco News Rhode Island is replete with interesting environmental topics

with a particular focus on Rhode Island.





        27 September 2011

                                                                 Field Trip for Grades K-5


RI Resource Recovery Corporation Complex

Johnston, RI






What can you do to protect and respect the Earth?







*Please note the message below from the Children and Nature Network regarding the upcoming documentary "John  Muir in the New World."  It is slated to be shown on Monday, 18 April 2011 at 9:00 pm. 

    John Muir was a powerful force for change. He championed the joys and the healing power of time in nature. He encouraged his fellow Americans to get out of the city and journey into the wild. He helped protect some of America’s most extraordinary natural areas, which are still around for our use and enjoyment today.
You too can be a positive force for change.
Share your passion for connecting children and people of all ages to nature.
Host a House Party!
When: April 18th, 2011
Your Local PBS Listing
What: View and Discuss American Masters "John Muir in the New World"

A house party is an informal gathering in your home of friends and neighbors—or even just family members—focused on an issue of common concern. Grounded in the vision and legacy of John Muir, your house party will help inspire people to be part of the larger conversation about connecting people to nature and encourage guests to take action to get themselves and others outside.

Visit the American Masters Web site to find out more.

Major Funding Provided by

National Endowment for the Humanities

Additional funding provided by:
Floyd and Delores Jones Foundation, The Russell Family Foundation, RSF Global Community Fund-Roger Jordan Fund, Italo Breda, Wisconsin Humanities Council, Craig McKibben & Sarah Merner, Walter Henry Freygang Foundation, Billings and John E. Cay III.
Funding for American Masters provided by:
The National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal,  Cheryl and PhilipMilstein Family, Jack Rudin, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer, and PBS.

Copyright (C) 2011 Children & Nature Network All rights reserved.






8:30 PM






The following commentary was featured in Lincoln School's On Our Minds in Ocober 2010.  To read contributions by other Lincoln community members, please go to the Uniquely Lincoln section found on the Lincoln School homepage.

Inviting Nature to be Our Teacher
on the Lower School Playground

Giovonne Mary Calenda

Early Childhood Studio Teacher

October 14, 2010


The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
ever a child can do.

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all,
over the countryside---

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down.

     Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child's Garden of Verses


The playground has long been a very special and essential place in the daily lives of Lower School children and their teachers. On any given day, one may observe friendships being forged during the mid-morning respite of recess and snack. Opportunities to engage in dramatic play abound as children encounter their friends and dream up adventures of their own choosing. “ Ice cream” is for sale even when we are bundled up from head to toe and perhaps with thoughts of hot cocoa in mind. The challenge to reach the next rung on the monkey bars is a much sought-after accomplishment. While the climbing structures help to build muscles and gross motor control, they at the same time offer a chance to see the world from a bird’s eye view. The swing of the hammock takes us “up in the air so blue” perhaps to catch a closer glimpse of the world of the woods on the other side of the wrought-iron fence.  On a lucky day, maybe a red-tailed hawk will be sighted heading down to the ravine or chipmunks will be brave enough to scamper under the fence and make a visit.  Last spring, a mother snapping turtle made her annual pilgrimage to the playground in search of a safe place to lay her eggs, a passel of baby opossums ventured out from the woods onto our property and a snake was spotted slithering along nearby Scholar’s Walk. What lessons can be learned from encounters such as these with creatures and the habitats in which they live?

Gregory Bateson ponders this very thought in his book Mind and Nature. He calls on us to consider the interconnectedness of the natural world through his provocation---

 “What pattern connects the crab to the lobster and the orchid to the primrose and all four of them to me.  And me to you?” 

Children are innately very connected to the natural world, and it is opportunities that nurture and strengthen this relationship that lead to a deepened sense of place, respect and stewardship for the earth.

If one visits the Lower School playground this fall, you will find a new area, an outdoor classroom, designed to encourage and support encounters with the natural world by offering a place for exploration and discovery.  This exciting outdoor space is marked by its beautiful river stone ground surface. The myriad of colors, sizes and textures have been a source of delight and a new complement to the wood mulch surface of surrounding areas.  One will most likely also notice children walking around the playground with baskets in hand.  Like the squirrels scampering up and down the tall oak trees that grace the playground, the children are undoubtedly collecting acorns and other treasures to examine, investigate and enjoy.  The Nature playground area offers a variety of gathering places for friends or simple places to be by oneself.   There are two wooden Nature Collection tables set up to invite sorting, classifying and the creation of temporal compositions atop tiled surfaces.  Nearby are glazed terracotta urns waiting to be filled and emptied with “loose parts.” Two large wooden cubbies have also been positioned to serve as a storage place for found objects.  The collections will be ever-changing as each season offers new gifts to behold.  Pinecones, bark, sticks, seedpods, beechnuts, acorns, seashells, and beach stones are just some of the treasures that present their own stories to be discovered.  Through time and handling, these natural elements will assuredly be transformed, and will eventually degrade and rightfully return to the earth. New gifts will take their place and for a time will share with us their own lessons.  It will be up to each of us to use those lessons well.



The esssay found below is from the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California. www.ecoliteracy.org

Sophisticated Simplicity

What kind of "stewardship" fits our emerging world? When we consider the powerful forces transforming our world — climate change, peak oil, water and food shortages, species extinction, and more — we require far more than either crude or cosmetic changes in our manner of living. If we are to maintain the integ­rity of the Earth as a living system, we require deep and creative changes in our overall levels and patterns of living and consum­ing. Simplicity is not an alternative lifestyle for a marginal few. It is a creative choice for the mainstream majority, particularly in developed nations. If we are to pull together as a human commu­nity, it will be crucial for people in affluent nations to embrace a deep and sophisticated simplicity as a foundation for sustainabil­ity. Simplicity is simultaneously a personal choice, a community choice, a national choice, and a species choice.

What does a life of conscious simplicity look like? There is no cookbook we can turn to with easy recipes for the simple life. The world is moving into new territory and we are all inventing as we go. For more than thirty years I've explored contemporary expressions of the simple life and I've found such diversity that the most useful and accurate way of describing this approach to living may be with the metaphor of a garden.

A Garden of Simplicity

 To portray the richness of simplicity, here are eight different flow­erings that I see growing in the "garden of simplicity." Although there is overlap among them, each expression of simplicity seems sufficiently distinct to warrant a separate category. These are pre­sented in no particular order, as all are important.

 1. Uncluttered Simplicity: Simplicity means taking charge of lives that are too busy, too stressed, and too fragmented. Simplicity means cutting back on clut­ter, complications, and trivial distractions, both mate­rial and nonmaterial, and focusing on the essentials — whatever those may be for each of our unique lives. As Thoreau said, "Our life is frittered away by detail…. Simplify, simplify." Or, as Plato wrote, "In order to seek one's own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life."

2. Ecological Simplicity: Simplicity means choosing ways of living that touch the Earth more lightly and that reduce our ecological impact on the web of life. This life-path remembers our deep roots with the soil, air, and water. It encourages us to connect with na­ture, the seasons, and the cosmos. An ecological sim­plicity feels a deep reverence for the community of life on Earth and accepts that the nonhuman realms of plants and animals have their dignity and rights as well.

3. Family Simplicity: Simplicity means placing the well-being of one's family ahead of materialism and the acquisition of things. This expression of green liv­ing puts an emphasis on providing children with healthy role models living balanced lives that are not distorted by consumerism. Family simplicity affirms that what matters most in life is often invisible — the quality and integrity of our relationships with one an­other. Family simplicity is also intergenerational — it looks ahead and seeks to live with restraint so as to leave a healthy Earth for future generations.

4. Compassionate Simplicity: Simplicity means feel­ing such a strong sense of kinship with others that, as Gandhi said, we "choose to live simply so that oth­ers may simply live." A compassionate simplicity means feeling a bond with the community of life and being drawn toward a path of cooperation and fair­ness that seeks a future of mutually assured develop­ment for all.

5. Soulful Simplicity: Simplicity means approaching life as a meditation and cultivating our experience of direct connection with all that exists. By living simply, we can more easily awaken to the living universe that surrounds and sustains us, moment by moment. Soul­ful simplicity is more concerned with consciously tasting life in its unadorned richness than with a par­ticular standard or manner of material living. In culti­vating a soulful connection with life, we tend to look beyond surface appearances and bring our interior aliveness into relationships of all kinds.

6. Business Simplicity: Simplicity means that a new kind of economy is growing in the world, with healthy and sustainable products and services of all kinds (home-building materials, energy systems, food pro­duction, transportation). As the need for a sustainable infrastructure in developing nations is being com­bined with the need to retrofit and redesign the homes, cities, workplaces, and transportation systems of developed nations, it is generating an enormous wave of green business innovation and employment.

7. Civic Simplicity: Simplicity means that living more lightly and sustainably on the Earth requires changes in every area of public life — from public transporta­tion and education to the design of our cities and workplaces. The politics of simplicity is also a media politics, as the mass media are the primary vehicle for reinforcing — or transforming — the mass consciousness of consumerism. To realize the magnitude of changes required in such a brief time will require new approaches to governing ourselves at every scale.

8. Frugal Simplicity: Simplicity means that, by cutting back on spending that is not truly serving our lives, and by practicing skillful management of our per­sonal finances, we can achieve greater financial inde­pendence. Frugality and careful financial management bring increased financial freedom and the opportu­nity to more consciously choose our path through life. Living with less also decreases the impact of our consumption upon the Earth and frees resources for others.

As these eight approaches illustrate, the growing culture of simplicity contains a flourishing garden of expressions whose great diversity — and intertwined unity — are creating a resilient and hardy ecology of learning about how to live more sustainable and meaningful lives. As with other ecosystems, it is the diversity of expressions that fosters flexibility, adaptability, and resilience. Because there are so many pathways into the garden of simplic­ity, this self-organizing movement has enormous potential to grow....

The Choice for Simplicity

The circle has closed. The Earth is a single system and we humans have reached beyond its regenerative capacity. It is of the highest urgency that we invent new ways of living that are sus­tainable. The starting gun of history has already gone off and the time for creative action has arrived. With lifestyles of conscious simplicity, we can seek our riches in caring families and friend­ships, reverence for nature, meaningful work, exuberant play, social contribution, collaboration across generations, local com­munity, and creative arts. With conscious simplicity, we can seek lives that are rich with experiences, satisfaction, and learning rather than packed with things. With these new ingredients in the lives of our civilizations, we can redefine progress, awaken a new social consciousness, and establish a realistic foundation for a sustainable and promising future.


Excerpted with permission from Duane Elgin, Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich. Copyright © 2010 by Duane Elgin. Published by Harper.

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