Tinker Park provides place to learn about nature in the city

Staff Report

People ask why the Natural Land Institute is involved with planting a native prairie meadow in a park in the middle of the city. The answer is, parks and urban gardens offer people living in the city a pathway for opening their minds to learn about history, ecology, wildlife and nature.

E.O. Wilson, one of the world’s great biologists and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author about the natural world, says that parks provide “… a sense of permanent familiarity, a solid feeling based in a …deep history of the land, unchanged over thousands of years.”

Wilson says we love parks and gardens because of an “intrinsic attraction people have towards nature.” This opens us up to a greater appreciation of the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

“We need to reach a whole new generation of children to encourage their innate attraction to natural things,” said Jerry Paulson, executive director of the Natural Land Institute. “Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens, and the founding site of Rockford along Kent Creek, are the perfect place to provide an opportunity for outdoor hands-on learning that brings about a better understanding of nature,” Paulson explained.

The Natural Land Institute is a private conservation organization based in Rockford that preserves natural land in northern Illinois for people, plants and animals. In addition to protecting and restoring woodlands, prairies, wetlands and streams, it provides educational opportunities for children and adults to learn about their place in nature and provides places to enjoy natural areas.

From the May 18-24, 2011 issue

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