Summer program leader Carly Magnuson inspires “naturalist intelligence” teaching children all about frogs at the Scout Island Nature Centre.

Summer program leader Carly Magnuson inspires “naturalist intelligence” teaching children all about frogs at the Scout Island Nature Centre.

Scout Island summer fun

It may not feel much like summer yet, but the kids, the calendar and the critters have no doubt that it’s here.

Naturalist intelligence is what?

It may not feel much like summer yet, but the kids, the calendar and the critters have no doubt that it’s here.

The warm nights and long days offer lots of opportunities to escape the confines of inside.

Yet, the Nature Conservancy found that kids under 13 now take part in freestyle play outdoors for only a half-hour a week.

That could mean that our children are not getting a chance to develop their “naturalist intelligence.”

According to Howard Gardner (professor of education at Harvard University) there are eight types of intelligences.

We are aware of most of them (linguistic, logical, interpersonal…), and we work at developing most of them.

One many aren’t aware of is naturalist intelligence, the ability to understand patterns, relationships and connections in nature.

Not only are we not aware of it, we don’t organize experiences to help children develop this intelligence.

Children need ample time to get their bare hands dirty while exploring turtle nests and deer beds.

In childhood, they need a big dose of exploring and loving the natural world.

Parents can provide that by going outside and exploring with their children.

Your own delight in the natural world is contagious, and sharing this shows a child that you value him or her.

Sending children outside on their own to explore and use their imagination is equally important. They don’t always need you to lead the way.

Scout Island’s summer programs are another way to help your child develop his/her naturalist intelligence.

Summer staff, Carly Magnuson, Patrick Newsome, Geneva Gordon, and Angela Melney lead the children out exploring every day.

Last week there was a live snake to observe, turtles to see, and baby birds to watch (Nature Fun ages 4-8).

The Arts in Nature Group (ages 8-13 on Wednesdays) found out that an orange will turn purple cabbage juice pink.

They built bug hotels and went swimming (Carly has her life guard certificate), and maybe exploring the  secret beach next.

An anonymous donor wants as many children out in nature as possible with caring mentors and made a generous donation that has allowed us to keep costs very low for these programs.

Our programs are small groups with one mentor for each six children.

Some parents are starting early to develop naturalist intelligence in their children (ages 0-5).

They join us every Wednesday (10:30 to 11:30 a.m.) for Tales and Trails, a free program to walk the trails and find treasures. Last week the group found a duck egg nest.

Call 250-398-8532 or go to our website or facebook page for more information about all of these programs.

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