October 24, 2007

Children in the Woods.

Last spring's nature-writing class responded positively to readings on children & nature and the whole "nation of wimps" meme.

So I have added a chapter of Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods to my illegal-photocopy anthology.(Might use this newspaper piece too. His sort-of blog has not been updated.)

The other text will be The Landscape of Home, I am thinking, which is fairly Colorado-centric.

Looking for something else in the university library, I found one autobiography of a man who definitely did not suffer from "nature-deficit disorder." Paul Errlington put himself through South Dakota State College in the 1920s partly through trapping (skunk, mink, muskrat) and later became a biology professor at Iowa State University. His autobiography The Red Gods Call was published by Iowa State University Press in 1973.

At the end of my last semester in high school I had an attack of rheumatic fever. [He had had polio too.] The acute phase was agonizing, brief, and without special complications, though my joints had a lingering stiffness for weeks. This was in the spring. The next fall I planned to go to northern Minnesota to spend a winter traipping. My doctor did not discourage me from going ahead with these plans providing I avoided overexertion.

His parents, too, did not try to keep him indoors. Nowdays we need organized programs like this one.

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