Meet inspiring nature educator, Dieuwertje Smolenaars, joining us for our new online Nature Explorers Club series! Dieuwertje will teach us how we can become nature explorers this Wednesday 2 December at 8 pm CET / 7 pm GMT. Your donations will support De Toevlucht animal shelter in Amsterdam. Please see event registration info below and don’t miss your chance to join!
Dieuwertje, how did you become a nature explorer?
“Exploring nature is in my blood. Since I was little, I have been fascinated by the natural world around me. When I was 7, I wanted to become a biologist studying animals in their natural environment. But because I am dyslexic and not a good learner people and teachers told me that that was impossible.”
“Of course, that made me sad, but it also gave me a deep-rooted drive to show that I could become whatever I wanted. It was a long, hard road to be where I am now as a nature educator and wildlife photographer, but I made it!”
What are the benefits of being a nature explorer? “When people discover more about animals, they develop empathy and want to help them in the future. When I teach children and adults, I tell them about the lives of individual animals and ask them to think about relationships between them.”
Can we become nature explorers too? What skills do we need? “Everyone can become a nature explorer! You just have to open your mind to what you find in nature around you. When you see something interesting, stop and take a closer look, then ask yourself questions like what purpose does this creature have? What is its name? How does it live its life? People, even children nowadays, tend to walk quickly and can forget to look around and enjoy nature.”
What would you say to someone who is afraid of something in nature, like insects?
“If you are scared of things like a spider, for example, stop for a minute to observe it and to consider how it lives its life. If you are a bit frightened by something in nature, it is a good idea to become curious about it and to learn about it. It is OK to be scared of something you don’t know about, but keep in mind that the creature you are scared of is probably more frightened by you!”
“Being afraid of something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t play a role in the web of life we share with all living creatures. You still have to respect all living creatures and leave them where they are to get on with their lives.
When you observe animals in nature and have questions about them, you probably won’t know all the answers. Luckily we have the internet now. You can also ask me questions about nature at my new monthly nature clubs with The Green Living Lab!“
Learn to become a nature explorer during our interactive chat with Dieuwertje, this Wednesday, 2 December, at 8 pm CET / 7 pm GMT.
The event is accessible for all the family and children will love it!