Nature as a Recharge System for Attention

Andrea Faber Taylor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has launched a study of the effects of nature on learning. In this controlled study in three schools, children who spend 100 minutes or more outside every day will be compared to others who spend much less time outside. Research is mounting that green space is not justContinue reading “Nature as a Recharge System for Attention”

Crawling Out from the Leaf Litter

I’m cleaning out one laptop computer in order to switch to a new one, reaching back into my digital leaf litter. What I found amongst hundreds of emails to delete was a two-sentence response from local entomology expert Tom Murray, kindly offering me a tentative identification of an insect photographed on my hand in December 2012.Continue reading “Crawling Out from the Leaf Litter”

A Single Species: An End-of-January Investigation

There is sometimes too much, or too little, simplification that goes on when “environmental education” takes hold. Starting with a single species, as Fresh Pond Reservation staff in Cambridge, Mass., will do on January 31st with “The Secret Life of White Oaks,” can make a path for kids, families, anyone, to start small and grow curious from there.Continue reading “A Single Species: An End-of-January Investigation”

Black Lives Matter & Kids Outdoors

Almost exactly two years ago I sat crosslegged on the floor of a filled-to-the-gills meeting room at Harvard Law School wrapping my mind around what Devon Carbado was trying to get across. He was describing racial salience. Carbado, a legal scholar and articulator of the field of critical race theory, and co-author of Acting White?: Rethinking Race in Post-RacialContinue reading “Black Lives Matter & Kids Outdoors”

Environmental Artist Lougee: Call To Action, in Plastic, Through March 5

Concurrent with exasperation over the details of Cambridge’s erstwhile plastic bag ban (progress toward which has been stymied, this time, by a snowstorm cancellation) is a relevant exhibit by Cambridge sculptor Michelle Lougee at Simmons College’s Trustman Gallery. Lougee’s work, much of which is painstakingly forged from plastic bags, is not a tsk-tsk. Instead she fingers a delicateContinue reading “Environmental Artist Lougee: Call To Action, in Plastic, Through March 5”

Screen Wise Cambridge’s Snow Day Challenge: February 2, 2015

Make something using these items only: 5-7 cylindrical household objects like cardboard tubes or water bottles 5-7 rubber bands (hair bands are ok), and 5-7 crayons or pencils. Your creation can be a building, a human or animal figure, an abstract sculpture, a machine, a tool, a poem or story, in fact anything at all! Use the above items only.Continue reading “Screen Wise Cambridge’s Snow Day Challenge: February 2, 2015”

Snowfall in the City

When children wake up with the outdoor world coated with even an inch or two of snow, the transformation of their world isn’t partial, as it is for the jaded among the rest of us, who’ve seen hundreds of snowfalls come and go. We have turned into the shovelers, the drivers, the schleppers, the planning-ahead experts.Continue reading “Snowfall in the City”

Participatory Budgeting

The City of Cambridge has launched a Participatory Budgeting Project earmarking $500,000 for citizen-proposed public works. A number of the proposals that have emerged from the process are playground additions or improvements; quite a few suggest traffic-calming and pro-biking infrastructure improvements. I’ve suggested that maximum benefit to the greatest number of children would be the creation ofContinue reading “Participatory Budgeting”

Four Arrested by Belmont Police in Protest of Forest Clearcutting

Belmont Police arrested four Cambridge residents yesterday for trespassing in the 15-acre floodplain forest “Silver Maple Forest,”a section of Belmont bordering Cambridge and Arlington, where a decades-long battle for conservation hangs by a thread. A press release issued by the Friends of Alewife Reservation reported that The arrests were peaceful and without incident.  Dana Demetrio, University ofContinue reading “Four Arrested by Belmont Police in Protest of Forest Clearcutting”