To live and learn by the stars, seasons and nature's cycles.
Reading Nature envisions a world where humans live in sync with nature. A world where humans live as equal shareholders and caregivers for balanced, diverse and healthy communities across planet earth.
Read Nature: Philosophy
Our programs support biological literacy, understanding our biological nature - inside and out. We aim to reset our inner and outer clocks to tick in sync with our biological nature, rather than an industrial era clock.
As humans, our internal biological clocks are tuned to the earth’s rotation through the sun’s daily and seasonal cycles. Biological rhythms, called circadian, ultradian or infradian rhythms by biologists depending on their timing, describe cycles within an organism, tissue or cell that relate to an outside cycle in the environment such as the daily light-dark cycle or the tidal, weekly, seasonal, and annual rhythms of the earth’s rotation. Our internal metabolic, hormonal, central nervous system and even neurotransmitter systems are timed to biological rhythms. Living cells within plants and other animals are tuned to the same environmental cues as we are. What do the cues in your environment such as light, temperature and humidity tell you? How does weather affect the plants outside? What are the squirrels and birds up to this time of day? When do you feel most energized and tired?
Relate to nature: Awareness of connections.
How is our internal biology connected to our outside surroundings? What time of the day are the birds the busiest and the most quiet? It’s not a coincidence that birds are often hushed in the afternoon at a time when most people could use a siesta. Awareness of our relationships to nature, of internal to external and vice versa, strengthen our connection to self, each other and our environment. Understanding these connections supports empathy, caring and considerate action.
Roll with it: Timing is everything.
Flow learning describes a natural rhythm that Joseph Cornell, in his book Sharing the Joy of Nature, observed when using a particular sequence of games and activities in outdoor education. He found that learning was enhanced if he started with enthusiasm, moved into focusing attention, concentrating on a direct experience in nature and then gathered together to share inspiration. Natural cycles of learning was further developed and described in Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, a model that aligns the cycle of learning with everyday cycles in nature. Reading Nature instructors are trained to use “natural cycles of learning” and how learning is impacted at different times of day based on our biological clock and cycles of hormones cortisol and melatonin.
Chances are, you know what it’s like to go against the flow of your biological clock. Showing up at school at 7am for lectures well before the biological peak in logical reasoning around 10am is painful. Whether it’s the strict timetable of western education or the workforce, showing up at a time when you’re just not feeling it requires extra energy and effort, often powered by caffeine. It is a privilege to live in these times to the innate tune of your natural internal clock.
Imagine designing spring. Imagine that orchestration… Imagine the timing, the coordination, all without top down laws or policies or climate change protocols. This happens every year… there’s lots of showing off, there’s lots of love in the air, there’s lots of grand openings, and the organisms I promise you have all of their priorities in order.
- Janine Benyus, Ted Talk