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Lessons from Nature

Nature is a great teacher

by Jenny Sherren, North District Field Crew Member/ AmeriCorps Member

It seems to me that nature is a great teacher. Here are some things I’ve learned from spending time in the great outdoors.

  1. Things take time. It takes millions of years to build mountains, a lifetime to fully grow a tree, and hundreds of years for a glacier to form. When it feels like it’s taking a long time to accomplish your goals, remember things take time.
  2. Life is simpler with the help of others. Trees communicate through their roots on how to grow. Migrating birds fly in a ‘V’ to decrease wind resistance. Many things are possible to complete on your own, but many things are simpler with the help and ideas of others.
  3. Set your own pace, don’t compare it to others. Coniferous trees generally grow at a slower rate than deciduous trees. So, it would seem that coniferous trees are much younger than deciduous trees of the same age. Plants’ growth rates are also affected by the soil, wildlife, and climate they are exposed to. It is very easy for people to compare themselves to others, especially when you are starting out in a new career. Just like the trees, set your own pace that offers the best outcomes for yourself.
  4. Storms pass. Rough times in life will come and they will go.
  5. Outgrowing your environment is natural. Potted plants often get root bound when there is not enough space for more roots to grow. This stunts the plant’s growth and sometimes causes it to die. The lesson here is that sometimes the type of life we have been living is no longer offering us any room for self-improvement. I noticed this in my own life which ultimately led me to this position with the Corps.
  6. Diversity is healthy and needed. A monoculture in a forest setting is not a good sign. Monocultures often do not allow for many food or habitat opportunities for wildlife. They also often deplete the area of the resources they need, ultimately leading to their collapse. In my life I have seen instances where a lack of different backgrounds and life experiences from other people did not offer me the most honest look at a certain situation.
  7. Persistence is key. Even the small plants can crack through rock given enough time. Keep making small steps toward your goals and soon enough you will find you’ve accomplished them without realizing.

Hopefully you can relate to some of these ideas and come up with some of your own. It’s definitely helped me put some things into perspective.