Learning From Nature

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On Friday November 4th, 16 students from Mountain View’s Environmental Science class enjoyed beautiful fall sunshine and outdoor learning for 2 hours of their school day. This time was a combination of personal reflection, shared thinking and mentoring community building.Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is a 650-acre park in western Fairfax County with a history that spans 8,000 years. The park has many trees with colorful leaves, and a big pond fed by spring water ever since the time of the native Americans.  It is fascinating to think that human beings have interacted with this space in nature continuously since prehistoric times.  As young high school students, its possible for us to see all subjects of study in nature.  The physical activity of P.E., the chemical reactions of fall foiliage and decomposition, the mathematical symetry of   patterns of erosion, the psychology of therapeutic reflections in nature, the creative inspirations for journalistic writing, poetry, and art, the philosophy of human exisitence in the midst of historic change and continuity; all of these are possible subjects of study on a field trip such as this.  Nature really is the first teacher and we are all capable of being students in this class.

Nature is part of Earth’s history, nature revolves around and encompasses every science, it is perfect in proportion and logic like math. Nature is GOD’s masterpiece and inspires many an artist, from painter to poet. Nature is the universal embodiment of every subject known to mankind, thus, we all can learn more about everything and build anything simply  by looking to nature for knowledge and inspiration. – Mamadou Kane

This park has a very nice trail and peaceful sights to look at and enjoy. Walney pond was excavated in the 1950s and for many years it was a local fishing hole and ice skating rink.

“Humans have lived on the land that became Walney for more than 13,000 years.”

“Clovis spear points found near Dulles Airport to hunt medium to large game toward the end of the last ice age. Their prey included woodland caribou and, possibly, mastodon.”

“Prehistoric people probably used this land over the next 8,000 years.”



Some students were able to express their experience in poetic words and so we conclude with this personal reflection.

Mamadou Kane crosses the flow of understanding.

My experience, to put it succinctly, was an ecstasy. Religious, scientific, cognitive, and mental. Scientifically, I was able to exercise my mind with new observations of the natural world and learn new facts; as well as test old ones to put my heart at peace. I saw a tree by the river bank decomposing, mushrooms sprouting from its flesh, which I had initially mistook for beehives(Ms. Culik corrected me). I was able to snap multiple pictures of the bark and leaves’ of different trees Cognitively and mentally I was benefited by just the change in scenery from the bustling urban environment from whence I came from. It allowed me to envision a world that was once free of pollution, free of technology, free of information overload, free of complications, and I am just left in awe. I felt very serene simply sitting outside in ALLAH(SWT)’s nature. Each time I saw something beautiful, new or old, I could only stare and say ”Allahuakbar!”. Everywhere I turned I could see another reminder of GOD’s majesty and might: the leaves which deserted the trees which fostered them to return to mother earth; not one falls but GOD knows it. All the trees settling into their winter slumber, were they all plucked and turned to pens and dipped in the seven seas turned to ink, the blessings of ALLAH still could not be written. I traversed up and down the rugged forested pathways, I was reminded how the tree would extol David as he walked by, and the stones that would slay Goliath spoke to him and asked for his transport to their destination, and his destiny. All in all, I enjoyed nature’s mental stimulation and sweet release from the mundane and neverending city life.  – By Mamadou Kane

Brandon expressing the art and color of geometry in nature.