Activity time: 12 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Computer with Internet access

Preparation for Activity

  • Preview the Nature Songs website, and select sounds to play for the group. Find more nature sounds you can download to your computer, here. Find a wide variety of bird songs here.
  • Make sure the computer is set up where you can easily access it, and that the volume is adjusted so the sounds you will play are clearly audible, but not overwhelming. If Internet access is not available, make an audio file you can play on the computer or another music player.

Description of Activity

This activity encourages a sense of connection with the non-human neighbors we hear around us, by directing participants' attention to natural sounds they may not notice in everyday life and inviting them to guess the sources of the sounds.

Invite the participants to sit comfortably, and to close their eyes. Play sounds, one at a time. After each sound, ask the participants to describe what they heard and try to identify the sound.

Share as many sounds as time allows. Then, invite participants to reflect on the experience with questions such as:

  • Were you surprised by how hard it was to identify the sounds? How easy it was?
  • Can they name or imitate any bird calls you can recognize when you are outside?

Point out that it is hard to understand and appreciate a sound or its source, if we are not willing to really pay attention to it. Listening to nature and learning to identify its sounds reminds us that we share this world with many other beings, and that we need to make sure that there is a place for each one.

Including All Participants

Provide headphones for participants who may need to hear sounds at a higher volume.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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