Creating Wonder-Inspired by Nature


By Lisa Niver Rajna


Teaching your kids to love nature.

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau

Not all of us can make a commitment to nature like Henry David Thoreau to go live on Walden Pond, but we do not have to go to such lengths to inspire our children to love nature. By creating wonder and a connection to the environment we can all protect our planet.

We can even share seeds and caterpillars with our children without even going very far outside! As Janine M. Benyus states in Biomimicry:

Bringing children back into nature and nature back into childhood is a job for teachers and parents and friends willing to take a child outside for a lark. There need not be an ‘official’ park involved; finding a place where green things grow, even if it’s a crack in the sidewalk, is enough.

You can order a kit with seeds and starter material, buy plants at your local nursery, or go to the supermarket and purchase a bag of lima beans. Soak the lima beans overnight, put them in a plastic baggie with a wet paper towel inside and tape it to a window—watch your child’s face as they starts to grow! If you have an onion with green shoots, you can put the end in water (use toothpicks to keep it half out of the water) and it will grow. This is also great to do with a sweet potato.

In A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, he says that after a science education based on stupefying, boring textbooks, he was surprised to find that there is so much to be amazed about on our planet: “Did you know there are more geysers and hot springs at Yellowstone than in all the rest of the world combined?” He talks also about the wonder of our own bodies. “Your heart must pump 75 gallons of blood an hour, 1,800 gallons every day, 657,000 gallons in a year—that’s enough to fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools—to keep all those cells freshly oxygenated.” How incredible is that?

We can learn to be inspired by the marvel of our bodies and try like Thoreau to live deliberately in taking care of our planet and ourselves. Water is everywhere and needs our protection.

“A potato is 80 percent water, a cow 74 percent, and a bacterium 75 percent. A tomato, at 95 percent, is little but water. Even humans are 65 percent water, making us more liquid than solid by a margin of almost two to one!” We are more liquid than solid and more capable of amazement than we realize.

Thomas Friedman, in his book, Hot Flat and Crowded, discusses the increasing need for green energy, clever solutions and how we need to inspire students to love science and be creative.
You might start by growing a lima bean or signing a petition to save sea turtles in Tonga, or maybe you will decide to go visit the orangutan sanctuaries in Borneo.

“The palm oil that fried your French fries today may have come from a chopped-down tropical forest in Indonesia, which in turn helps to contribute to climate change that is intensifying the drought in your backyard.” If we save the orangutan, we may save ourselves. The word ‘Orangutan’ does literally means “man of the forest” in the Indonesian language.

In Dr. Seuss’ children’s book, The Lorax, we hear:

“Mister,” he said with a sawdusty sneeze,
“I am the lorax! I speak for the trees! I speak for the trees,
for the trees have no tongues,
and I’m asking you sir at the top of my lungs!” The question is who will you speak for and
what do your actions teach your children?

Tonga petition:

Lisa Niver Rajna, M.A. Ed. has over 12 years of classroom teaching experience and an additional 11 years working in camps and on cruise ships.

This article first appeared in LA MOM Magazine.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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