Encouragement: Searching Out the Wilderness (Nature)

“Wherever mankind has left a patch of earth, even a tiny crack in the sidewalk, nature will try to fill that niche. The wonders of nature can be found wherever we look—anyplace, city or suburb, countryside or wilderness—nature is everywhere.”
~ Tom Brown, Jr.

Cliffs and Water Fall in WildernessGrowing up in the suburbs of Midwest USA, surrounded by fields and countryside, afforded me the opportunity to explore and play in my surroundings. During summer vacation, it wasn’t uncommon to take off for the day and not return home until dinner. No one worried about us. We were free to have all kinds of ‘adventures’.

We didn’t have bike helmets, or knee pads or elbow pads. Did we get broken bones, stitches, poison ivy? Yep. Did we survive it? Yep.

Today, in many parts of our country, especially the cities, children don’t have the opportunities to explore nature as we did. In fact, I believe a large portion of our population has a complete disconnect with nature.

If our children today aren’t allow the chance to connect with nature, how can we expect them to care about protecting our wilderness areas, or make the right choices and live a life that leaves a smaller footprint in our environment?

Song SparrowWhether we acknowledge it or not, we humans have a deep-seated need for wilderness—a place where we can find relief from the constant noise of traffic, people and technology. We need to be alone with our thoughts to remember who we are and what is really important in life. We need to replenish our very soul.

But just because you don’t live in the country, or near some vast wilderness area doesn’t mean you can’t help your children (and yourself) find those pockets of wilderness that do still exist—even in the cities…even in your own backyard.

Here’s something to help you with this quest. It’s called Tom Brown’s Field Guide To The Forgotten Wilderness.

Tom Brown's Guide to the Forgotten Wilderness bookSpider web with dew dropsIn this handy book, Tom Brown shows you how to discover wilderness in your lawn, hedgerows, suburbs, playgrounds, and even drainage ditches. Then he helps you explore the parks and forests, ponds and streams. You will learn about what animals, birds and plants to look for. And at the back of the book, he teaches you the basics of how to track wildlife.

How many of us rush through the day never feeling the wind in our hair, the sun on our faces? Have you seen the thousands of colors in a handful of beach sand? Enjoyed a sunset? Have you ever hugged a tree?


Maybe today you begin your own adventure…

Nature Trail


  1. Andrea Michele Wilson

    Hi Indy,
    Love this post! Yesterday, we had a group of inner city kids (5th graders) out at the refuge, and we asked them all to be completely silent for a moment, and try to identify how many wildlife sounds they could hear. They also got to be “scientists” for the day and learned how to do a field survey and document it. They seemed to all have a great time, but sometimes I think I have more fun than they do. Anyway, your post is very near and dear to my heart. Thank you so much for being the person you are Indy! Love you!

    • indy

      How awesome, Andrea! I can well imagine how rewarding it must be—keep up the good work! That’s something I’ve always wanted to do – take young children out into nature and let them explore. At least I was able to do that with my two sons. And I knew you would be one of the people who would definitely relate to this blog. :0) Love you too!

  2. Matt

    Love this post, Indy. My wife is always a little on edge when we go out into the wild at first, but after some time, she listens and breathes in all that wild air and she’s a different person. I think what helped her a lot was being prepared in the wild – having a good first aid kit, emergency radio, etc., put her at ease at first.

    Am enjoying your posts!

    • indy

      Hi Matt! So good to hear from you again. I love learning what’s happenings up your way. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Lois

    I adore Tom Brown’s books. My oldest son read every one of his books when he was young. As a consequence we had many a dinner conversation on scat found on our property along with a detailed journal of my son’s drawings of tracks and scat.

    I too was free to wander the neighborhood as a child with no bike helmet or helicopter parenting and we all survived. Did we have scrapes and bruises yes. even a few sprains and only one broken bone for six kids.When we saw the street lights come on it was time to head home. it breaks my heart to see how children have so many limitations on their freedom.

    I am fortunate to be where I am today, a grandmother seeing my grandchildren get to enjoy the outdoors. The youngest is only 8 months but even he has the freedom to crawl around in the grass and doesn’t miss a thing whether it’s a bird’s song or a butterfly passing by.

    • indy

      Lois, your comment made me smile. So good to hear of other young people sharing their fascination and love of the outdoors! It warms my heart. I love it that your son has read all of Tom Brown’s books. When I purchased his very first book, The Tracker, I bought it for my young son to read. But when I read it, that was it. I was hooked for life!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and make a comment. Made my day ~

  4. Suad Campbell

    My grand-daughter and I have a lovely time exploring the back yard. It calms and at the same time fascinates her. And I am reminded again of the wonder of nature.

    • indy

      Thanks for sharing this, Suad. I can picture the two of you exploring the flowers and plants and studying the tiny creatures living among them. I remember doing this with my Grandfather. He taught me all the names of the flowers, the insects and the birds. I saw my first hummingbird with him. He could reach down and pluck a four-leaf clover almost every time…magic for us as children! How wonderful that you give your grand-daughter this experience.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don't Miss Out!

Join me in my quest for Self Reliance. Subscribe to my blog to receive my twice monthly updates on Products You Should Know About, Life Hacks, DIY Projects, Preparedness, Survival, and of course Writing Tips.

You have Successfully Subscribed!