A Winter Solstice Tradition - Make a Fruit Wreath for the Animals
Helping Fellow Creatures Survive
Create a Solstice Wreath
On December 23rd, my daughter and I made ornaments from the simple gifts of nature. To decorate a small bird house, we used tree bark, broken bits of tree branches, fruit, dried flowers, beans, seeds, and cinnamon sticks. We also decorated a pine cone and a wooden bear ornament.
In addition to the ornaments, we made a gift to give the birds and other critters that live around us. Our feathered and furry friends have less daylight this week, the darkest week of the year, for finding food. They need our help, and deserve a gift in return for the beautiful songs they sing to us and the lovely ways they entertain us all year long. This gift was a fruit wreath of a very simple design.
Why make a gift of food to the birds and other wild animals?
Long ago, when more of the human population lived close to the earth, and celebrated the food they harvested, they were deeply aware of their connection to the natural world. They observed the changing of the seasons and the progression of the cycle of life each year, and lived their lives in response to them. All of their needs were provided by the natural world, and thus all of their possessions were made with natural objects, such as animal skins, meat, milk, honey, fruits, and vegetables. Humans respected nature because they knew that this respect was necessary for their survival. During certain festivals, they helped heir furry and feathered friends by feeding them extra food to help with their survival.
Many people are still drawn to have natural objects around our homes because these objects remind us of our deep connection with and dependence on nature, despite the level of technological convenience that we enjoy. We can support our wild furry and feathered friends by helping them survive. We can leave seeds, nuts, and nectar for them to feast upon while we are feasting in celebration of what they have given us. Once the harvest has been eaten, shared, and/or stored, the frosts have covered the fields and even humans have settled into a state of hibernation from the usual flurry of activity of the brighter months, the creatures of the natural world, who give us gifts and entertain us, need help finding food themselves. Let us share our bounty with gratitude by making something that they can feast upon, too.
Honor all the seasons of Mother Earth
Craft wire for stringing the fruit together and tying it on a tree branch
1. Keep cranberries whole, but cut the rest of the fruit into small pieces, and pop the corn.
2. Cut craft wire with a set of pliers or wire cutters, about 2 or 3 feet in length.
3. String wire through the berries, fruit pieces, and popcorn until the length of the wire has been covered.
4. Tie the ends of the wire together to make a circle, and place your fruit wreath over the branch of a tree in your yard.
5. Watch and listen for the birds as they thankfully feast on the gift you have given them.
Merry Solstice and Happy Yule to all!
Learning Respect for Nature Begins Early
Extending the Classroom
We can continue exposing our children to experiences that will impress upon them the importance of the natural world in their lives. The more they learn about the interdependence between humanity and the natural world the more they will come to appreciate the importance of every species on the planet. Every being lives on Earth for a reason and the natural world deserves our protection.
Camps that Increase Emotional Intelligence
Part of the development of emotional intelligence is the experience of empathy between people, and that which humans extend to the world around them. This usually takes the form of affection toward pets, which is good start.
Many other species that inhabit the natural world also deserve our respect. Some may seem scary, but they affect our environment and their presence is important to the survival of our planet. Let us show our children how much we value these species by advocating for their survival. The best choice for a summer camp experience may be the one that models those values and inspires our children to adopt them, too.
Places where children learn to love nature ~
- Hands-On Nautre
Home Page for the Nature Education program in Berlin, MA that we love to participate in most as a home-schooling family.
- Earthways Nature Education
Home Page for a nature education program located in the state of Washington.
- Children of the Earth Foundation
This program is also located in New England, and has multiple programs for young children to young adults.
© 2011 Karen A Szklany