Michelle Howard

Don’t Go Outside

What Happened to Telling Children to Go Outside and Play? I was 25 when I became a mother, and perhaps I was still somewhat naive. Yet nothing, not even my early science-fiction addiction, prepared me for the bizarre complexities of parenthood. I’m not talking about the sleepless nights, the confusion of soothing a crying infant, or …

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Let Them Eat Dirt

Immunologist Mary Ruebush, PhD wrote a book called Why Dirt Is Good: Five Ways to Make Germs Your Friends. My favorite Ruebush quotation so far is: “Dirt is good. If your children aren’t coming in dirty every day, they’re not doing their job.” Her point is that all this rot about antibacterial soaps and compulsive …

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Out With the Beaver

Beaver is out and Blog is in.  Another loss for team nature was the decision by the publisher of the Oxford Junior Dictionary to replace dozens of nature-related words like “beaver” and “dandelion” with more relevant words like “blog” and “MP3 player.” As noted wildlife artist and conservationist Robert Bateman observed, “If you can’t name …

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Communing With Nature

“What’s becoming of our children?” people are asking each other. When I was 10, I donned the massive headphones of the 1970s and listened to Simon and Garfunkel sing about a boy sitting on a ledge. I assumed the eerie refrain, which reeled itself deep into some secret passage of my brain, was the voice …

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