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Can Your Child Love Nature Too Much?

“Do you think that the pine cones really like to live outside? Is it really their house?” she asked me.

“Well,” I asked her, “what do plants need to grow?

“Dirt, water, sunshine and air,” she answered promptly; they had been studying plants at pre-school. “But outside there is just mud.”

“Mud is dirt and water. It will dry out.”


“I’m not sure we get quite enough sunshine in our house.”


“Do you want to plant your pine cones?” I asked her.

“At night? In the dark?”

“Why not? There is a moon,” I replied. And that is how we ended up spending the evening, tossing cups of baby pine cones into the yard and chanting, “Grow! Grow! Grow!”

The next morning, her dad asked where all the pine cones went.

“Home,” replied the young conservationist. We had made a huge leap in understanding that it’s possible to truly care about something with very different needs from your own. And even when it is not aesthetically pleasing it is still beautiful to live side-by-side with functioning nature.

Jensen Montambault lives with her husband, also an ecologist, and two pre-school aged daughters, who they hope will love nature, in Charlottesville, Virginia. A conservation scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s global program, Jensen has nearly 20 years of experience working with environmental conservation in the Americas, Africa and the Pacific, as well as a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida. She also enjoys tackling home improvement projects and playing outside.

(Image: Pine cones for lunch? Source: Jensen Montambault.)

Read more: Children, Environment, Family, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Activities, , , , , , ,

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12:38PM PST on Dec 6, 2012

Only if your son comes in the door and whips a frog out of his pocket and say's "Look mom what I found"! Thankfully the frog was OK and able to hop away safely after I told my son that we couldn't keep it. To his great disappointment in asking why? I simply replied that his mother would be worried sick if she called him in for dinner, after his play time and he never came home again! My son said hurriedly...I'll be right back! And ran out the back door. Five minutes later upon his return. I said to him, Where did you bolt out of here to? He said "I took him back to where I found him, so if his mom called him, he would hear her". Simply precious!!!.......I thought to myself.

6:38AM PST on Dec 3, 2012

What do you mean by 'too much'?

9:35AM PST on Dec 2, 2012

Very good. Thanks.

6:38AM PST on Dec 1, 2012

Children are our future encourage there love of nature , show them the beauty , Teach them to enbrace nature by embracing it too .

10:13AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Aww I loved this story. No, she didn't love nature too much. she just needed a deeper understanding :)

3:51PM PDT on May 24, 2012


12:11PM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

Great story. If these are the type of issues you have with your kids, then you've got it made--what a sweet, compassionate child.

7:03AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

What an adorable story, thanks for sharing, Jensen!

1:40AM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

March 12, 2012
HSI Welcomes L’Oréal/EPA Collaboration to Advance Non-Animal Alternatives for Product Testing

Humane Society International/Europe

The way of the future. Maggie Bartlett/NHGRI

Brussels—Humane Society International/Europe welcomes a new research collaboration between cosmetics giant L’Oréal and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. This alliance serves as a milestone towards animal-free safety testing. Cosmetic ingredients will be evaluated using EPA’s Toxicity Forecaster, ToxCast, made up of over 700 ultra-fast non-animal tests, to understand their potential impact on processes in the human body that lead to adverse health effects. However, HSI warned that the EU must act quickly to increase its own research funding and infrastructure in this area to keep pace with the United States and other nations or risk losing out on an exciting technology revolution.

L’Oréal is providing EPA with $1.2 million in research funding and cosmetic ingredient safety test data to expand the types of product chemistries assessed under ToxCast. EPA will compare the ToxCast results to the L’Oréal data to determine whether the existing ToxCast test methods are sufficient for use in the safety assessment of cosmetic ingredients.

Help create a future without animal testing.

Troy Seidle, director of research & toxicology, Humane Society International/Europe, said: “With the EU’

11:19PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

I dont think there is anything such as "loving nature too much"- especially if you are labeling yourself as ecologists and conservationists.

Understanding nature? That is a different story and one that will take years to cultivate. Children don't pop out of the womb with a full understanding of their environment, and I certianly would never discourge a child from loving nature "too much".

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