Nature Studies

Storytelling for a Greener World

Environment, Community and Story-Based Learning

Edited by Alida Gersie, Anthony Nanson and Edward Schieffelin

Foreword by Jonathon Porritt


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This is a beautiful, deeply considered delving into the power and wonder of stories, how traditional stories have shaped the way generations have seen the earth, and what it can be to reshape some of those stories to reflect a union and love between man and nature.

There are many authors and viewpoints between the covers of this wonderful book.  Each story they select and the thoughts they share about it are like an overflowing cornucopia of delight and wonder, knowledge and wisdom.  Where one might expect to find "nice, environmentally friendly" stories, instead you will be treated to literary richness grounded in the depths of history and folk wisdom. 

Storytelling for a Greener World is a treasure to be visited and revisited as often as possible.


From the publisher:

A treasury of 43 stories, creative activities, techniques, tips and descriptions of inspiring practice to both empower newcomers and seasoned practitioners.

A handy, unique and authoritative resource for developing innovative story-work, and a key sourcebook of lasting usefulness.

This handbook offers time-tested stories, creative activities and methods that environmental educators and storytellers can use to affect people’s pro-environmental behavior.  Whether it is a brief mention of seeing a skein of geese flying in an evening sky, or children from a tough area getting inspired by kittiwakes, both adults and children can engage profoundly with nature through the imaginative power of story, with lasting personal and environmental changes.

It explores the links between storytelling and emotional literacy, place, environmental justice, connecting with alienated youngsters, how to encourage children and adults’ curiosity about nature, building community, sustainability and indigenous peoples, local legends, human-animal communication and how to co-create a sustainable future together.

Storytelling for a Greener World brings together the wisdom of cutting-edge storytellers who offer a range of distinctive but complementary approaches to the art of telling stories for environmental education in 21 chapters.

The Little Gnome Tenderroot

Jakob Streit

Translated by Nina Kuettel

Illustrations by George Feldmann



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Dear Little Gnome Tenderroot just loves the plants and soil he cares for.  Each season he looks to see what he can do that will most especially help the roots and branches to spring to life or, in winter, fade into a deep, good sleep.  He lets the stars and the angels help in all he does, and is just such a happy little fellow it's hard not to want to run outside in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him sending star milk from heaven down into the deep earth so that the plant leaves will flutter brightly.

These little nature stories are wonderful for children in first or second grade - and for all the adults lucky enough to get to read them, too.

Gardening with Young Children

Beatrys Lockie



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I have personally been waiting for over 20 years for someone to write this beautiful book. It is a joy to see it and to recognize in it everything I've ever wanted to see on this topic placed between two covers.

Beatrys Lockie is a passionate organic gardener who taught in a Waldorf kindergarten for many years and found a seemingly unlimited number of ways to pass along to young children her enthusiasm for gardening. Anyone wanting to do the same will love this book as much as I do.

In fact, anyone wanting to learn to garden from a master will love this book, for she includes all the basics of gardening along with her ways of sharing it with our little ones.

And, if you already know how to garden, but want to learn how to work with young children, she shows you that, too. The first part of the book is like walking into her kindergarten where she quietly shows us the rhythms and ways of what is to me a sacred space wherein children can blossom.

Gardening with Young Children answers so many needs with so much love that it simply brings tears to my eyes to read it. I hope that it becomes the seed to many, many gardens that invite children into the world of nature.


Green Fingers and Muddy Boots

A Year in the Grden for Children and Families

Ivor Santer

Includes a CD-ROM with worksheets



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Here is a beautiful, wonder-filled introduction to the joys of gardening! Packed with photos and drawings of birds, bees, flowers, vegetables and much, much more, Green Fingers and Muddy Boots is so evocative of the pleasures of working with nature that you'll find yourself setting it down frequently in favor of going out and getting your hands into some soil. Which I know the author would love for you and children everywhere to do.

Green Fingers and Muddy Boots—with worksheets on the accompanying CD—presents practical and fun activities in the garden for every month of the year, come rain or shine. Activities range from growing flowers and vegetables to spotting birds and tracking the weather and keeping a garden diary.

The activities are suitable for seven- to fourteen-year-olds. Although older children will be able to work independently, it can be fun to work together as a family or school class.

This book is based on the original “Plant and Grow” course developed with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, which has been used successfully by many families and schools for several years.

We recommend it as wonderful for children of all ages! You can never be too young or too old to get out into the garden.


Geology and Astronomy

Charles Kovacs



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Part one of this book describes the different kinds of rocks, soil, and mountains found on our planet and explores how they came into being. This section also deals with the depths of the Earth and the long ages of time.

By contrast, part two examines the heights of our universe in the movement of the Sun, Moon, and stars. These celestial bodies give us our sense the cycles of days, months, and years.

Throughout, Kovacs links the phenomena he is describing to human experience and how they affect people in various parts of the world. Geology and Astronomy is a resource for Waldorf teachers in classes six and seven (ages 11–13).


Johann Wolfgang Goethe



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A translation of Goethe's phenomenological study of granite. Short, but packed with insight!

Keeping a Nature Journal

Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You

Clare Walker Leslie & Charles E Roth

Foreword by Edward O Wilson

Softbound, beautifully illustrated in pen and ink drawings and watercolor


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Clare Walker Leslie's work is so invaluable in the field of nature study, for all ages everywhere. We use it in our Roots & Shoots program to help young people sharpen their observation skills and deepen their connection with nature.

- Jane Goodall
Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute

For many years now, both Bob and I have felt strongly that there was a need to offer 6th, 7th and 8th grade students (and high school students, for that matter) more direct contact with living nature than the conventional Waldorf curriculum calls for. In our view, our modern world has become so very separated from the Life of the world, that it has become a pedagogical need to balance that reality with something more.

Keeping a Nature Journal offers a beautiful, lively way to do just this - and to do it in the contexts of Steiner's phenomenological approach to science, drawing & painting, and upper grades composition writing. Whether in a classroom or homeschool setting, this book opens doorways to really seeing our world and in the process, also really seeing ourselves and each other. It is simply a gifted work of art, something anyone who teaches will want to discover for themselves. There is even an entire section devoted to ways of teaching this to both children and adults.

Our hope is that the offering of this book will lead many more adults to travel the seasons with their students, and to share the love for nature that grows from such a journey.

Drawing from the Book of Nature

Dennis Klocek



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Drawing from the Book of Nature does double-duty as a book that is about both drawing and the natural world of plant and animal. Here is a wonderful resource for teachers, students or anyone wishing to develop their capacity for the artistic observation of natural phenomena.

Dennis Klocek, with his refreshing combination of depth and clarity, offers a wealth of insight into the lives of plants and animals. His text is enhanced with step-by-step lessons to help the reader bring the kingdoms of nature to life on paper.


Snowflakes in Photography

W. A. Bentley



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For portrait after portrait of the wonder of nature, of metamorphosis of form, and just sheer beauty, this 1931 collection of photographs of snowflakes just can't be beat.  Bentley's genius was not just that he found a method to photograph some of nature's most ephemeral and complex forms, but that he then went on to organize them by type of form.  The result is a symphony of metamorphosis and relationship, ideal for introducing to students studying nature from 5th grade onward.  Or to simply gaze at in wonder.


Words in Place

Reconnecting with nature through creative writing

Paul Matthews



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Words in Place is a nine-week writing course that follows a path through the realms of nature, from mineral to plants, animal, and people. By exploring the qualities of each, Words in Place encourages the writer to find a unique, authentic voice and to forge a new relationship the inner and outer worlds.

Paul Matthews offers a rich variety of creative techniques and exercises, including "haiku hikes," word and story games, written conversation, collaborative writing, and "tiny tales."

The reader will enjoy this powerful and unusual book both for its help in connecting with nature and for its insights into imagination and the poets and writers who created the literary geography of East Sussex, the author’s home.


  • WEEK ONE: Opening Our Senses to Each Other and the World
  • WEEK TWO: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire
  • WEEK THREE: Turning a New Leaf
  • WEEK FOUR: The Flowering Garden and Our Responses to It
  • WEEK FIVE: The Animal in Nature
  • WEEK SIX: Giving Voice to the Animals
  • WEEK SEVEN: Being Human
  • WEEK EIGHT: The Story We Belong to
  • WEEK NINE: Walking Back the Way We Came