Since we finished our research we’ve been working on brainstorming ways to connect people to nature. We decided as a group that we would focus on connecting kids to nature because that seemed to be the age in which people have really memorable encounters with nature. We wrote out a goal and strategy:
We want children from the Southeast side of Chicago to be more engaged in hands-on activities in nature, which will result in an increase of their knowledge and connection to nature.
Then we got fast to work creating hands-on games to connect children ages 6-12 to nature. We created a nature memory game using pictures of animal and plant species from the Calumet Region. We also redesigned a game called The Web of Life and turned it into Pieces of Life that shows kids how all species in an ecosystem are connected and what happens when humans dump trash in it. However, a group of us wanted to work with even younger kids so, we created an Exploration Nature Walk for four and five year olds in which they freely explore nature. Another group of us decided that parents had to be targeted as well because they are the caregivers of children. That group designed a video for parents and young adults emphasizing the importance of connecting kids to nature.
We took our games and activities to two communities, South Chicago and South Shore. We played the games with over 50 kids from Centro Comunitario Juan Diego and the summer camp at the South Shore Cultural Center. It was a lot of fun to play the games with kids. They loved them!