Connecting Nature, Kittens, and Kids
In our digital world, oftentimes our connection to Nature becomes overlooked or taken for granted. Immersing oneself in the outdoors, even for a limited time, can be eye-opening, and even life changing. Recognizing the value of a single tree - it's role in providing the oxygen we breathe, creating shade, giving us resources for shelter and fuel... Whether we always realize it, we have a strong connection to our natural world. Without it, we could not exist.
Both science and experience have proven that being in Nature:
-Raises our ability to focus - enhancing creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving, and increases motivation and engagement for learning.
- Can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.
- Developing a relationship with Nature enhances clarity on ways to support it.
At times when the light shines, it's hard to ignore what is illuminated. Years ago, a litter of kittens was abandoned on our rural property and they still live with us today. Over time, cats and kittens continued to present themselves in ways that planted the seed for growing our no-kill rescue. Though our goal is to find loving, forever homes for each of our rescues, those who do not find their match will live out their days here.
For many reasons, some social, some economic, embracing the importance of neutering cats is lacking in our region. The more we learned, the more our efforts to care for these unwanted animals were validated.
- Pet overpopulation continues to be a significant problem in our area, state, and country.
- A recent study found that North Carolina euthanizes more shelter animals than any other state - nearly 23% of the animals that entered shelters in 2019 were killed.
- 69% of the animals killed in shelters nationally are cats.
- Neutering domesticated cats would significantly reduce this number. In seven years, one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats!
What would the world be like if our future leaders led with care, valued all living things and had great respect for themselves and others? What if they became aware of how we each play a part in evolution? What if they spent more time in Nature where they could discover their place in the world? What if it made them aware of their potentials? We believe the outcomes would be significantly positive and noticeable.
By bringing kids into this connection, we allow nature and animals to:
- Act as a mirror to support self discovery
- Play a role in experiential learning to build their confidence
- Offer a sense of belonging through shared healing
- Teach us how to be in relationships with respect and boundaries
- Demonstrate how to collaborate
The vision of Nahimana Forest is to unite children and animals within a Nature-based setting for experiences, both shared and individual, that promote learning, self-discovery, and healing. We provide space for programming that is intentionally designed to build character, encourage introspection, develop an appreciation for animals and the love and care they need to flourish in our presence. We embrace the indigenous people's philosophy that "we have obligations" to be good stewards of our shared Earth for our current and future generations.
- (Coming Soon) Online "Storytime with Lady Amber", readings of selected children's books, connecting kids with Nature and our kittens in care
- Volunteer opportunities to support our kitten rescue and land management
- (Future) Space for structured programs for school age children and foster families
"Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature."
Richard Louv, Author and Co-founder of Children and Nature Network