To celebrate publication of The River Singers and to mark World Nature Conservation Day (Monday 28th July) author Tom Moorhouse has been visiting a number of blogs answering questions and suggesting ways to get children interested in nature. World Nature Conservation Day highlights the threats to our wildlife on both a local and global scale from the effects of habitat loss, climate change and pollution. To culminate the tour, we asked him, when did your passion for nature begin?
I grew up in a very small market town in the North East (called Barnard Castle, or “Barney”), surrounded by hills and woods (and, yes, a river runs past the town). So I spent a lot of time walking and playing out in the countryside. And I have very clear memories of sitting down with my Mother and consuming every David Attenborough documentary I could (not literally, you understand…old VHS videos are tricky to chew). So it’s fair to say that the passion began quite early on! And I’m really glad that there’s a spotlight on World Nature Conservation Day because it needs all the attention it can get. Even if the sheer ethical and moral weight of our responsibility not to allow species and habitats to go extinct were insufficient (which it shouldn’t be, but somehow is), it’s about time folks realised the colossal inadvisability of continually undermining the ecological resources that support our access to things like clean water and abundant food. You know: the non-essentials. Basically what we are collectively doing is the equivalent of sitting high up in a tree and sawing through the branch we’re sitting on…Phew. And breathe. Sorry. Rant over. But yes, World Nature Conservation Day is an important day.
And here’s a tip from Tom to get kids interested in nature and the outdoors:
Climb a mountain. It might sound ambitious, but there are some lovely “starter” mountains out there.You really don’t need to be captain of the orienteering team, or a polar adventurer to have a fun walk and a bit of a challenge. A favourite of mine is MoelHebog in Snowdonia, but there are good lists of easy peaks to be found online.Obvious precautions involve ensuring you and your children have plenty of sandwiches, snacks and water, that you are all wearing waterproof gear and footwear, and keeping a good eye on the weather – being cold, wet and hungry isn’t fun for anyone. Also being prepared to head home if conditions get too bad is always wise. But odd days aside,during the summer months, most mountains will be kind, and the challenge they pose is wonderful. For me nothing beats the sense of achievement you get from topping out, especially in fair weather when the world is spread out before you. And once down you feel that the hot chocolate is very well deserved indeed. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’d generally rather be on a mountain than almost anywhere else.
To visit the other blogs in the tour, check out these links:
Monday 28th July OUP children’s books blog.
Tuesday 29th July Smiling Like Sunshine
Wednesday 30th July Serenity You
Thursday 31 July Rach’s Place
Friday 1st August Library Mice
Saturday 2nd August My mummies Pennies
Monday 4th August Madhouse Family Reviews
Tuesday 5th August Red Peffer
And if you’d like to win your own copy of The River Singers, please enter via the rafflecopter widget below.