Nature Notes: Thoughts from the TreeSong Community

Featuring Michelle Fox

The Importance of Nature Connection for Kids


Cultivating a child’s relationship with nature engenders health and wholeness.  Today’s children  spend considerably less time outside and even less in natural settings. The effects are notable.  TreeSong’s mission statement emphasizes the importance of connecting children to self, community and nature. There has been a multitude of studies that document how spending time in nature impacts virtually all facets of a child’s existence, including the physical, mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.  These studies categorically support that exposure to and interaction with the natural world are imperative to well-being, creative and problem-solving capacities, and emotional and intellectual development.

Fostering love for the natural world not only benefits the individual child, but also has a far-reaching and important impact on our world. Children who form a relationship with nature are more likely to grow up to be adults who are dedicated stewards of our precious earth. We care for what we know, understand and love. Our planet needs as many conscious, caring individuals as possible to nurture, restore and passionately act on her behalf.

We at TreeSong deeply believe in providing a place, in this amazing Northwest riverside forest, for children to play, learn, explore, connect and nourish all aspects of themselves. We believe these embodied experiences are what children need on a fundamental level, and it’s what the world needs:  future generations that protect and care for the earth.

Check out the following links for excellent resources and research articles from the children in nature movement:

Children & Nature Network
Richard Louv


Michelle Fox offers a variety of nature connection programs for children of all ages.  Click here to take a look!

michelle21Michelle Fox
Founder and Executive Director of TreeSong,
Educator and Mother

Michelle fulfills a 15 year dream of supporting the wholeness of children (and families) through nature-based exploration and learning. She’s been a teacher of young children for almost 30 years, teaching art, Spanish, preschool, Maiden Spirit (program for 9-13 year old girls) and Children’s Yoga.

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Our August newsletter is now available

Simply click on the following link:

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TreeSong exists and continues with the support from you all, its generous community. Our current thank yous:

The first goes out to IQ Credit Union for their generous donation from their IQ for Kids foundation, which supports community causes that help improve the lives of children.

The second thank you goes out to Diane Routt and Jane Doudney for their donation of a laptop (which we sorely needed!).

We certainly appreciate the loving support!  THANK YOU!!!


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Fairy Camp!

The four days of Fairy Camp last week  were over-the-top sweet. So many precious moments learning about the natural world, creating, exploring, connecting…. The joy was constant and so very beautiful.

To view more photos from Fairy Camp, click here.

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Nature Notes: Thoughts from the TreeSong Community

Featuring Monica Vilhauer, Ph.D.


In our culture there is a long-standing pressure to see nature – and all the living beings, landscapes, and formations that make up nature – as a “thing” to examine and predict, an “object” to know, but which has no intelligence nor knowing capability of its own. It is often depicted as a resource for us to use and use up according to our own needs and desires, without any sense that it might have its own intrinsic value, its own needs, its own interests. It has even been regarded as a vast plane of “matter” whose parts interact like a great machine that we can take apart, manipulate, and dominate without causing it any pain or harm. This lens through which we have long approached nature is, no doubt, at the heart of our tendency to abuse it, neglect it, or simply remain apathetic toward it.


What might it mean to re-think what nature is? What new lens for seeing nature might we cultivate? What new relationships might we forge with nature and how? Might we learn something about how to live by watching the ways plants, animals, and different eco-systems “do” the process of living? Might there be a way to listen to what nature has to tell us? Might it be possible to forge a partnership or friendship with nature in which we learn what other living beings’ interests are and care for them, even if they are different from our own?


These philosophical questions about nature, I’ve come to believe, cannot be answered in a classroom or with a string of power-point presentations at a conference. We must approach these questions by engaging the natural world, by spending time with, observing, and being “present” with the living beings that we have become so good at ignoring or separating ourselves from. This, to me, is the great value of a place like TreeSong. It is a way in – the doorstep into a place and an experience that has become foreign to us, but to which our own minds and bodies remain intimately connected somewhere deep in the memory and flesh of our species. You know it as soon as you arrive. This is a place for you to rediscover and understand anew what life in its broad sense is all about, while also rediscovering and understanding yourself as a natural being.


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Monica is offering a retreat on July 23-24, Philosophy of Nature: A 25-Hour Retreat for Men and Women, as well as a wonderful mosaic workshop, Nature Inspired Mosaics, on August 6th and 13th. Learn more about these offerings by clicking on the class name.


Monica Vilhauer, Ph.D.

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Philosophy Professor, Artist and Lover of Nature

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Nature Notes: Thoughts from the TreeSong Community

Featuring Linda Jo Hunter


 Why Learn to Track?

The connection to nature has long been known to be a key ingredient to human health. High exposure to electronic realities makes this connection even more important. Tracking, the practice of visually observing the impressions on the earth made by animals and humans, is a lifelong learning project that yields riches of understanding, wonder, beauty and peace to the individual who pursues it. It is also a way to experience the outdoors with a great deal more safety and security than innocently wandering without a clue.

Isn’t Tracking Animals a Kids’ Activity?

Children love it when an adult points out raccoon tracks. They love to put their fingers in the exact spot where a raccoon stepped. However, once they stand up and look away, the image disappears for them and is usually replaced by all the other wonders around them. Learning to track animals takes adult skills of mental effort and discipline. The adult who has been studying tracking can be a great influence and mentor to children on hikes and during kids activities. In the process of learning to see animal sign, an adult learns a whole lot about natural history, habitat systems and the character and personalities of animals. This can be passed on to children indirectly, and perhaps as they grow and remember they will be interested in putting in the time and effort to learn in depth observation and story deduction based on visual sign.


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Linda is offering a series of tracking classes this Spring, Summer and Fall through TreeSong. These classes will be held offsite and are a rare and wonderful opportunity to learn about the natural world through the eyes of a master naturalist and tracker.
Click here to find out more.

Linda Jo Hunter
Artist, Tracker and Author of:
Lonesome for Bears, A Woman’s Journey in the Tracks of the Wilderness
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Summer Solstice Celebration & TreeSong’s 3rd Birthday!


 sign unveiled

Saturday, June 18, 4-7pm

Join us as we gather together to celebrate the changing of the season and TreeSong’s birthday with ceremony, community connection and art!

Please bring a potluck dish to share.

Hope you can join us!

Please RSVP, 360-837-8733, or email,

Suggested donation:  $5/person, $15/family

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The Joy of Running Wild!

Our third annual Run Wild! Nature Adventures Family Fun Day was, well, a wild success!  A whole lot of joy, learning and sweet connection was experienced by all.

A BIG thank you to Marlene Cowan for these beautiful photos AND to all the wonderful folks that volunteered to make our day the wonder that it was!  (To see more photos from our Run Wild! day, click here.)

And here’s a wonderful video created by Natasha Logan with highlights of our day:

We’d like to express our deepest gratitude to our sponsors:

~ Skamania County Chamber of Commerce
~ 4Ever Growing Kids Consignment/Boutique, Camas, WA
~ New Seasons at Fisher’s Landing
~ Nancy Huckvale & Drue Pickens Family Dentistry
~ Chuck’s Produce (Kind bars)
~ Kind (bars)
~ Brecia Kralovic-Logan (TreeSong water bottles)
~ A & J Market in Stevenson (apples and oranges)


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Run Wild!

Nature Adventures Family Fun Day

June 5, 2016, 12:00pm-4:00pm


Join us for our third Nature Adventures Family Fun Day! Dress up as a wild thing and join us for a day of running, walking, and soaring through beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake Park in Camas, WA. There will be fun and educational nature-based activity stations and a fun journey around the beautiful lakeside trail, as well as live-music, engaging games, art activities, face painting, and so much more…Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a glorious day of nature fun for all ages!!! Don’t miss it!

$15/child, $30/family with 2 or more children (Scholarships available)

Sign-in begins at 11:30am, last journey around the park begins at 3:00pm.

Online registration

Fallen Leaf Lake Park is located at 2911 NE Everett St., Camas, WA  98607

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Stewarding the Land!

A small but mighty band of ivy-pullers came together at TreeSong last Sunday.  All the trees have been tended to and much ground ivy eradicated. Feels so very wonderful to care for the land. I’m pretty sure I can feel the trees breathing more easily, too. Thanks to the dedicated, loving folks that pitched in and made it happen!

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