Every week for nearly two years now, I have taken kids from St. James Episcopal School for a nature walk. St. James has about 20 acres of undeveloped woods that meets the property where I live. These woods have helped me adjust to and handle city life. A small meadow, seasonal steam, woods with giant mesquite and TX persimmon trees, a prickly pear cactus maze, and other treasures are found in the 20 acres. It's Great! Before I started the walks, I had never seen anyone else enjoying the natural space. I thought it a shame that there were no kids out exploring. A part of me wanted to keep the woods to myself, but sharing my special spots and discoveries has given me much more joy.
Today, our walk followed the water's path from the school's parking lot drains, into the ditch, past large culverts, into a series of water catchment ponds, and into our little stream. We tangled with weeds, yelled into pipes, jumped over the stream, smelled leaves from the little pond, and more. I like teaching the kids about bugs, and plants. I like seeing them become confident instead of scared. I like seeing them test how far they can jump and how fast they can run. I like helping them have quiet moments, too. I do nature walks because the kids make it fun.
I started doing nature walks in part to give the undeveloped area some value to the school. If someone is using it, maybe it won't be sold or turned into apartments as quickly. I would be very sad if I didn't have my little bit of woods. I hope St. James continues with Nature Walks after Jacob and I leave Austin.