Inspired by Nature
“Nothing is invented, it is written in nature first.” ~ Antoni Gaudí, Architect
In June, my husband and I traveled to Europe on a long-awaited anniversary trip. In Barcelona, Spain, we visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. Although this site had been on my bucket list for years, I really didn’t know much about its history or its designer Antoni Gaudí. On our guided tour, I learned how profoundly nature inspired Gaudí. Every aspect of the Basilica’s design is rooted nature.
For instance, the interior pillars were designed to mimic trees in a forest. The colors used in creating the stained glass windows were based on the colors created by sunlight as it passes over a forest from sunrise to sunset.
Nature was evident everywhere. I even found a honey bee carved into one of the entrance doors! I was in awe. If nature could impact Gaudí’s architectural design so intensely, how is nature impacting my GEN2050 students?
GEN2050 curriculum intentionally exposes the students to nature through classroom and hands on experiences in urban gardening and urban beekeeping. This summer, we have been able to add environmental conservation to their learning experiences through a partnership with Patch of Heaven Sanctuary in Homestead, Florida. GEN2050 students are helping to restore Patch of Heaven’s Hardwood Hammock Forest by removing invasive plant species. For many of the GEN2050 students, they have never experienced nature so intimately. Would nature inspire them in such a way that their life work would be impacted like Gaudí’s life?
When I returned home from Europe, I started asking my GEN2050 students how their experiences in nature were affecting them. One of them wrote this testimonial about his first visit to Biscayne National Park:
“My first experience at Biscayne National Park was very exciting….The boat ride was very relaxing. The sight of the ocean and the trees was beautiful. I had never seen so many bright and beautiful colors until that trip. This trip was completely life changing for me. It made me want to be more involved in my community and the National Parks.” ~ Matthew, age 13
As I read Matthew’s words, I was touched by his statement that his visit to Biscayne National Park was completely life changing.
Then this weekend, I was able to observe GEN2050 students facilitating sessions on environmental sustainability at our Americorps event “INSPIRED for a Sustainable Future.”
This event, created by Michele Lozano as her LeaderCorps project, focused on reducing our carbon footprint, climate change, recycling/reuse, and other environmental sustainability topics. At one booth, GEN2050 students demonstrated how to turn an old T-shirt into a tote bag.
As I walked through the exhibits, I listened to them express how important nature is to them now and will continue to be for their future.
I was inspired! I’m going to be watching what these students will become and create as a result of their experiences in nature.
(Photo credits: Linda Freeman, Barcelona, Spain, June 2018 and Biscayne Bay National Park, October 2017. Gabby Scott, Homestead, Florida, July 2018. Deon Gideon, Miami, Gardens, July 2018.)