Save the Earth. It’s an inspiring but daunting call to action. In a world where time and resources seem to be more scarce, it’s hard to think about what you can do to help. However, every small action has a ripple effect.
Three small actions that can lead to big change. Three big ideas that get to the core of the Garden’s mission to discover and protect plants locally and around the world. But we can’t, and don’t want to, do it alone.
Like most children, Bob Bellamy spent time in nature when he young. But like many adults, his connection to nature faded as he grew older. The arrival of his son David helped rekindle that connection. Having just become Garden members, Bob found the Garden to be an easy gateway to playing outside, especially in the Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden. During one of their visits, they came across the 2018 Meet Me Outdoors In St. Louis Nearby Nature Map, which showcases 50 outdoor gems in Missouri and Illinois and 100+ outdoor experiences. As a teacher, Bob knew he had all summer to start checking them off one by one with David by his side. “We started to explore new places I hadn’t heard of and places that might be hard to find for someone like me who doesn’t know a lot about the outdoors yet,” he says. “So we just pick a place and on the weekends we’ll go a hike in the morning and see what we see.”
Experiencing nature together has given Bob and David, who is adopted, a common experience and an opportunity to talk more and bond. Their newfound love for nature also led to them to plant and care for plants at home. They grow pumpkin, herbs, and flowers in their new backyard garden.
Spending time in nature also made them curious about how to protect the environment. “This experience has shown me how important nature is and how important it is to experience it,” Bob says. “It’s the difference between saying abstractly that you want to protect the Earth and now having a connection to these [places]. As a family, I think we’re even more invested in it. We don’t want these places to go away and don’t want these places to be unprotected.”
As a 7th and 8th grade teacher, Bob also started incorporating nature into his curriculum. Taking what he’s learned alongside David during family time, he creates new ways to teach his students about the beauty and importance of nature, such as taking them on nature walks to take in the sounds, smells, and sights of nature in an effort to see things in a new way.
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Celebrate Bob and David’s story and more during a special Wild Ideas Worth Sharing evening event on Thursday, November 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the Shoenberg Auditorium at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Free and open to the public.