A Genius Way for Kids to Love Their Land


Q&A with Natasha Tarbox
Third Grade Teacher at Noble Crossing Elementary School
Noblesville, Indiana

Each week, Natasha Tarbox's third grade class spends one hour, known as Genius Hour, exploring a topic of interest.  Last semester, the topic was "How do I care for my land?"  The students asked thoughtful questions about caring for soil, land, water and air, so Miss Tarbox invited guest speakers from the community to share information about soil health, native plants, watersheds, invasive species, and more.  Read more from Natasha below on how the Children of Indiana Nature Park inspired her students.

How did you get interested in the Children of Indiana Nature Park?
As soon as I heard that kids could own a piece of land, I knew the kids would be just so enthusiastic and excited about that, because kids love ownership of things.

Are the kids excited about having their Nature IN-Deeds?
Not only did they get a color copy of their deeds, but their Nature IN-Deeds have been hanging on their lockers ever since the first week of school. The students also took paper copies of their deeds home. I've heard from several parents that their deeds at home are on their refridgerators proudly displayed, and they'll tell anyone, "we own part of the park."

What would you say to other teachers about getting involved with the Children's Park?
The enthusiasm that I've received from the kids has been the most rewarding part. They are so excited. Every Friday afternoon, as all teachers know, from about  2 to 3 pm is a tough time to keep kids engaged, but not my class. They are so excited every Friday at 2 pm to learn more about how they can be good stewards of their land, whether it's learning about, "well, what are the native plants on my land?" or "what's air pollution doing to my land?" or "water pollution?" or "how can we care for the plants that are there?" They are just so enthusiastic.