Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth

Activity 1: Loving Nature

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Handout 1, "A Nature-Lover Passes," by Daniel Henderson

Preparation for Activity

  • Photocopy Handout 1, "A Nature-Lover Passes," one for each participant.

Description of Activity

Participants read, hear, and discuss a poem about nature.

Use one of these questions to lead a warm-up discussion:

  • What, to you, is the most amazing animal, place, or phenomenon in the natural world? What makes it so?
  • What animal do you wish you could be more like? Why?

Distribute copies of Handout 1, "A Nature-Lover Passes." Invite two volunteers to read the poem aloud. Allow about thirty seconds of silence after each reading.

Use these questions to lead a "What do we have here?" discussion about the poem:

  • What happens in the poem?
  • Which lines lose or confound participants?
  • Tell participants that this poem refers to an old tradition in parts of Great Britain where most families kept beehives. The tradition was that when a relative dies, the first thing that should happen is that the oldest and the youngest members of the family go to the beehive and tell the bees about the death. Sometimes they would tie a ribbon around the hive. It was believed that if you did not do this, the bees would leave or die. The origin of this tradition is unknown. What do you think this tradition says about our connection to nature? Is the death of this tradition significant?

Lead a "What's the big idea?" discussion. Use these questions:

  • This poem is about death. How does it make you feel: peaceful, hopeful, melancholy? Why?
  • The subject of the poem is described as a nature-lover. Do you know any nature lovers? How do you think they would feel about the way death is described in the poem?
  • Does this poem relate to any of the seven Principles? How so?