Wonder – Connection – Stewardship

Imagine moments from your childhood – your first encounter with the wonder and majesty of the wild – I like to remember the moment I first figured out how to dive under a wave. Do you remember the moment when you committed to driving on through the water, under the breaking wave…the feel of wave’s power on your back or legs – and then coming up on the other side, triumphant, with a new skill! We return from these experiences with a renewed sense of independence, and feel a little more confident in a world that we feel is not entirely our own: Unfamiliar at first – the ocean. The big, wild, and beautiful vastness and power. Though it is unfamiliar, it is also where we come from, and our water bodies recognize its salty embrace. In this moment of discovery, and equal parts fear, we encounter wonder!

“…letting in the wave in all its thunder, and, with the shock of the sea,
my life widened out into space.”

 From The First Sea by Pablo Neruda

While the rigors of our philosophy and curricula support and guide our teaching methods, the context of this learning is rooted in a simple, experiential process which all human can relate to: As we walk and explore our environment (environment defined as that which surrounds us), we experience the majesty of unique and awesome places – this we call Wonder.

Wonder opens our senses and promotes deep connection: Connection to the earth, each other, and ourselves. Connection allows us to deepen our relationship to a place. From that caring relationship we feel compelled to act as stewards – not from a desire to follow the rules or out of sense of shame, but motivated by wonder and connection. We are inspired to restore, reforest, preserve, and protect life and living systems, out of love. This is the essence of biophilia: Love of life and living systems.

Biocitizens (or Aldo Leopold’s Biotic Citizens) follow the path of Wonder – Connection – Stewardship to restore our relationship to our place and its inhabitants. Once we find our place in the biotic community, the understanding that we are of  that community facilitates the compulsion to act: Stewardship becomes a natural act of caring. 

“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it

with love and respect.”

 Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

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