September can be a busy time for families. SaskOutdoors and Wildernook Fresh Air Learning weren’t 100% certain there would be enough interest to run the program Nature Grandparenting: Share your Autumn. We decided to test the waters and the response was positive –a full program! This indicates that although school-age children and their parents are ramping up for the school year, some grandparents and their three to five-year-old grandchildren are interested and available to participate in a facilitated nature program.
Autumn has a way of telling the story of the winter season ahead. Wildernook facilitator, Jana Miller, believes it is important to get children immersed in biodiverse spaces regularly during autumn to experience the seasonal changes gradually over time. For many adults the earthen smell of the air and hearing the sounds of sandhill cranes bugling overhead signal the clock is ticking for species to finish their preparations for winter. Young children, on the other hand, are less likely to associate these events as seasonal cues. Through shared nature exploration and facilitated role play and sensory experiences each week "grandpairs" uncover a story about the importance of preparing for winter.
Wildernook and SaskOutdoors exchanged high fives this fall over the success of their first fall initiative together, but a loud cheer goes out to all the grandparents who made it a priority to experience and explore autumn with their grandchild. We look forward to growing the number of intergenerational nature opportunities available in Saskatchewan in 2018!