Nowadays, children disconnect from the nature and do not have a clue that nature is interrelated to our daily lives. For example, the young generation does not know how a whole apple looks since their parents prepared sliced and peeled apples for them after dinner. We are often disturbed by the children trying to kill an ant crawling on the ground or escaping from a butterfly.
I strongly agreed that children should be given more time for free play in nature. From engagement in nature, they learn how to appreciate little things and the sources of what they use daily to develop a relationship with the nature. Thus, it would be great if zoos and aquariums could create more natural areas that allow kids to relax on a piece of grassland and explore according to their interests. In addition, by creating a more natural place which is similar to the animals’ original habitat, this helps to stop people from thinking that they are superior to animal or nature. Instead, we are equal and living on the same planet.
From the Wes Schultz’s essay I was encouraged to see how zoos and aquariums help to create the visitors’ connectedness with nature. Schultz indicated that similarity is one of the pathways to connectedness. In our narration, we emphasize the common things between human and animals, like similar lifestyle, diet, and basic needs for survival. Thus, it is important to treasure and share resources with the animals. However, I realized that the species of animals is crucial for having a successful connection. It is difficult to convince kids to save resources and help those animals living in the rainforests or polar regions which are far far away from their hometown. Besides, those species cannot be seen in their daily lives so it would be challenging to create a long-term effect on these kids. Thus, I think local species will be more convincing to visitors and enable them to think they can make a difference to the world.
On the other hand, Schultz mentioned some facilities, such as thrill rides and roller coasters, which may undermine the positive impact of the zoo experience on connectedness. I am neutral to this sentence but I believe that these rides can be one of the selling points to attract different kinds of people to come to a zoo or aquarium, regardless of their attitudes towards conservation. The better the chance they come to the park, the more likely we can involve these people from different backgrounds and age ranges to support our work!
Our Center in Libertyville, IL, is a workspace for Chicago-based staff, a retreat center for the Center's gatherings of thought-leaders, a laboratory in which to practice land-relationship ideas shared by Center contributors, and (one day soon) a welcoming space for periodic public events.
Center for Humans and Nature 17660 West Casey Road Libertyville, Illinois 60048 847-367-7330