Nature Education


March 2011 046

Most people who visit Dominica exclaim over and over how green it is!

Most of the people who live here say one of the reasons they put up with all the challenges of living on a small island with low incomes is the access to nature.

Lucky for me growing up my parents loved to immerse in nature; our most frequent family outing was an experience in nature; visiting a lake or a park for a day or a week holiday. I still remember the feelings of well being after being immersed in nature and the deep refreshing sleeps after.

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Immersion in Nature is now scientifically proven to be healing!

I first learned this concept – nature is healing as part of a conscious lifestyle for health and wellness – in the 1980’s from the Rasta’s I studied during my year’s sabbatical in the West Indies studying Herbal Medicine; Appropriate Technology and Vegetarian Cooking!

Repeatedly as I interviewed people who were part of the Rasta Movement and interested in Healthy Conscious Living I heard that Immersion in Nature – gardening; hiking trails; nature walks; river baths; hot water soaks or visits to ‘Dr. Sea’ – was an intricate part of their Healthy Lifestyle.

Now Forest Bathing is offered everywhere.

The scientifically-proven benefits of exposure to nature include:

  • Boosted immune system functioning.
  • Reduced blood pressure.
  • Reduced stress.
  • Improved mood.
  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD.
  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness.
  • Increased energy level.
  • Improved sleep.

 

 

 

 

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I love the name of this farm!

I have watched them from their opening and it is so inspiring to see their dedication to educating and informing all – about organic farming.

They visit the local schools to talk about Organic Farming. As a teacher I would definitely include them in my programmes no matter what level I was teaching at. This is one of the most effective ways of ensuring we have a future generation of young adults informed about the benefits of Organic Farming and the environmental and health ramifications of Farming with Chemicals.

school presentation

They give farm tours with hands on activities for children of all ages. this is just an amazing outing for youth of all ages. They get to see with their own eyes that Organic Small Farms are a fun viable occupation that provides healthy nutritious food for the nation; lowers imports and protects the earth for future generations.

rolling compost

Their tours include fun and educational activities such as rolling compost games.

compost video

Multi media presentations.

story telling

and story telling.

They tailor their tours to all ages.

Visiting the island?

Their Organic Farm Tour is a wonderful introduction to Dominica’s traditional foods and methods of farming. it is child friendly and interesting to the entire family. You get to savour our local foods with more than one sense knowing that you are contributing to the development of a strong and vibrant Agro Eco Tourism Sector on island. This is  Responsible Tourism at its finest.

You can camp there if you want a Farm Vacation.

Studying Tropical Agriculture or Organic Agriculture?

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Students from all over the world visit this thriving organic farm in a tropical  environment to study with their trained and experienced Organic Agriculturist – Dawn.

Living on the island? 

D-Smart offers Educational Programmes for children of all ages. This is a great way to enhance their environmental awareness; keep them active; foster a love of gardening and immerse them in nature. Children who have a chance to get excited about the foods they eat  in an experience such as this are inspired to eat more healthy. This program strengthens the children’s appreciation and respect for their culture, organic farming, eco living and local foods.

 Dawn Francis is a trained permaculturist…focusing on the areas of sustainability and organic farming. Her training was done in Trinidad in 2011; there she obtained a certificate  in Permaculture at Wasamaki Ecosystems. She also trained with Al Casimir of the Dominica Ministry of Agriculture – Organic Division. Dawn continues to increase her knowledge through self study and on site experience.

Check out their Road Side Booth as you pass by Corona/Corona Estate between Pond Case and Sylvania on the Trans Insular Road newly renamed the .

Contact them at D-Smart Farms on Facebook. They can also be contacted at 767) 449-0581; farm.dsmart@facebook.com

“It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth….The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing.” … Chief Luther Standing Bear TETON SIOUX

 

 

I love to lay on the ground and look at the night sky or the day sky and the clouds. I also absolutely love laying on rocks and practicing yoga in direct connection with these natural surfaces is a favourite activity of mine.

I have always enjoyed sleeping; resting; sitting and walking on the earth. As my children grew up we camped a lot not only to get in nature but to be able to sleep in direct connection with the earth. For me it was a deeply rejuvenating and healing experience.

Recently the value of direct contact with the earth has become more and more recognized.

According to the Earthing Institute:

“The surface of the Earth resonates with natural, subtle energies. Ongoing scientific research is discovering the details as to why people feel significantly better when they connect with these omnipresent energy fields. Earthing refers to the process of connecting by walking barefoot outside, as humans have done throughout history, or sitting, working, or sleeping grounded indoors. For more than a decade, thousands of people around the world—men, women, children, and athletes—have incorporated Earthing into their daily routines and report that they sleep better, have less pain and stress, and faster recovery from trauma. Earthing immediately equalizes your body to the same energy level, or potential, as the Earth. This results in synchronizing your internal biological clocks, hormonal cycles, and physiological rhythms, and suffusing your body with healing, negatively charged free electrons abundantly present on the surface of the Earth.”

“Throughout time, we humans have strolled, sat, stood, and slept on the ground—the skin of our bodies touching the skin of the Earth—oblivious to the fact that such physical contact transfers natural electrical energy to the body.

Modern lifestyle has disconnected us from the Earth’s energy, making us more vulnerable to stress and illness.

Earthing is the landmark discovery that this energy upholds the electrical stability of our bodies and serves as a foundation for vitality and health.

In an age of rampant chronic disease, reconnecting with the Earth’s energy beneath our very feet provides a way back to better health.

We are bioelectrical beings living on an electrical planet.”

For more information on Earthing check out Understanding Earthing.

Recently released studies are showing Native Indians were absolutely right in their belief that walking on the ground was healing.

The most recent study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine July 2012 shows that Earthing or Grounding the body reduces blood viscosity.

Subjects were grounded with conductive patches on the soles of their feet and palms of their hands. Wires connected the patches to a stainless-steel rod inserted in the earth outdoors. Small fingertip pinprick blood samples were placed on microscope slides and an electric field was applied to them. Electrophoretic mobility of the RBCs was determined by measuring terminal velocities of the cells in video recordings taken through a microscope. RBC aggregation was measured by counting the numbers of clustered cells in each sample. Settings/location: Each subject sat in a comfortable reclining chair in a soundproof experiment room with the lights dimmed or off. Subjects: Ten (10) healthy adult subjects were recruited by word-of-mouth. Results: Earthing or grounding increased zeta potentials in all samples by an average of 2.70 and significantly reduced RBC aggregation. Conclusions: Grounding increases the surface charge on RBCs and thereby reduces blood viscosity and clumping. Grounding appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events.

In March 2012 The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine published an article describing the interaction of the Earth’s mass-electrolytic conductor on the electrical environment of human organism-aqueous environment and skeleton released by Department of Ambulatory Cardiology, Military Clinical Hospital, Bydgoszcz, Poland.

They found results indicate that up-and-down movement and the elimination of potentials in the electrical environment of the human organism by the Earth’s mass may play a fundamental role in regulation of bioelectrical and bioenergetical processes. The Earth’s electromagnetohydrodynamic potential is responsible for this phenomenon.

In January of 2012 The Journal of Environmental Health published ‘Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons’; the source was the Developmental and Cell Biology Department of the University of California. This paper reviews the earthing research and the potential of earthing as a simple and easily accessed global modality of significant clinical importance.

Their conclusion: Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth—whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems—may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease. The research done to date supports the concept that grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity.

Seems like Earthing is among the most natural and safest things we can do to live healthier! Oh joy!

Dominica is the perfect place to hike barefoot or practice yoga in nature and take advantage of those healing energies.

RESPECT to University of West Indies. Our on island campus is a center for learning. Many different degree programs are available through long distance learning and they provide a venue for  all kinds of other interesting lectures, workshops, festivals and conferences to happen there.

Dominica has a very unique volcanic environment!

  • Of the 16 active volcanoes in the Caribbean Dominica has 9!
  • We even have more than one kind of volcano!
  • We live right on an arc of volcanoes where two tectonic plates meet.
  • We are resting on 9 volcanoes or perhaps one volcano with 9 openings.
  • Our island is the most volcanic of any Country in the Caribbean perhaps the world!  

 There are numerous locations that volcanoes can be studied in Dominica: places where hot water or bubbles are floating up out of the ocean floor; places where cold sulphur water bubbles up out of the ground; places where different types of hot waters  flow out of the ground or flow in rivers; the famous and unique in the world Boiling Lake or just drive to a high place and look out over the volcano peaks!

Look for the black volcanic sands and enjoy the flavourful produce we grow in our rich volcanic soil as part of your volcanic experience in Dominica!

Check out my other article on Educating Children in Dominica about volcanoes.

Volcano Resource Links

 

Volcano World

Fumaroles Venting Steam; Valley of Desolation

Valley of Desolation View

Volcanoes; University of West Indies; Seismic Research Centre – What are volcanoes? Why are there volcanoes in the Caribbean. Illustration of Caribbean Plate meeting North American Plate; Map of all the Caribbean islands and their volcanoes.

Volcano Monitoring; University of West Indies; Seismic Research Centre – monitoring volcanoes in the Caribbean.

Volcanic Hazards; University of West Indies; Seismic Research Centre – Hazardous volcanic effects in the Eastern Caribbean.

Volcanic Activity in the Eastern Caribbean; University of West Indies; Seismic Research Centre – eruptions of the past …..

Volcanoes in the Caribbean Frequently Asked Questions; University of West Indies; Seismic Research Centre – are all the volcanos of the Caribbean attached ……

Research Activities in Volcanology; University of West Indies; Seismic Research Centre

Educational Resources; University of West Indies; Seismic Research Centre – Posters to download

University of West Indies; Seismic Research Centre – on Twitter

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. ~ Chinese Proverb

I love this contest; great job Forestry!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Owo7Pl6aaRI

“Once I’m in the water I try to reach them acoustically by making this noise in the water, and it’s the same noise all the time so they know it’s me,” he says. “So I’m talking to them all the time in the water, and they start coming.” Andrew Armour; Dominica’s Whale Whisperer

I just love the Whale Whisperer article; how wonderful to be known for our whales in this way.

Dominica is one of the best Whale Watching Destinations in the Caribbean. Find out why at Dominica.dm.

Teaching Grade K with ocean as my theme I learned a lot about out friendly giants.  Our children need to grow up familiar with the oceans at their doorstep and the animals that reside there. Teaching children to about their environment so the can love and protect their environment.

How wonderful we are voting to save whales these days. Thank you Dominica for voting whale friendly.

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” ~ John Dewy

RESPECT to Forestry Division; for their immense contribution to Dominica from their inception. I am so thankful for the parks here; and for preserving those sites that are so unique and special to Dominica. Forestry’s work never ends; with storms and other natural occurrences wiping out their hard work regularly it is hard to get ahead; but they have. In the last 10 years we have up graded our paths and nature sites tremendously. Forestry provides educational programs for children and adults and over the years the books and periodicals that have originated from that office have been some of the only resources available for teachers who wish to teach about the local environment.  ………nuff respect.   

 

HOLISTIC EDUCATION

Nature Education – Dominica’s Rainforest Environment

 

We have one of the last remaining coastal rainforests of the Caribbean.  Our children need to be proud of these forests to help preserve them for future generations.

 

I found Dominica’s Rainforests to be a dramatic thematic teaching concept that most students greet with enthusiasm.  In my classes in Canada and in Dominica I used the levels of the rainforest as a way to look in depth at the animals and plants that live in the forests. We sang Songs about the Rainforest, did Rainforest Math; Rainforest Language Arts; Rainforest Science; Rainforest Social Studies; Rainforest Eco Education; Rainforest Health and Wellness and Rainforest Cooking.

 

 

 I tied everything together using a large wall mural; drawing a cross section of the rainforest showing basic concepts such as the 4 levels; the roots etc.  We drew and labeled the animals, insects, birds and plants of the rainforest and attached them to the levels of the rainforest they lived in. The water cycle is easily added to this same mural too. Most importantly we spent structured and unstructured but guided time in the rainforest.

 

Rainforest Educational Links

 

 

Dominica’s Coastal Rainforest

 

Dominica’s Rainforest Parrots

 

Leeward Islands Eco Regions

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