Erik Mollenhauer is one of my teacher heroes. I was first introduced to him during my student teaching when my incredible mentor teacher was raising monarch butterflies. She had attended a Teaching and Learning with Monarch Butterflies workshop earlier in the year and encouraged me to take the workshop the next summer. (Tangent- the summer workshops are going on now. If you are in NJ, NH, IL, or MD you should go to the workshop!). The workshop, which uses the monarch butterfly to encourage teachers and students to become stewards of the environment, is interdisciplinary and cross-curricular. It was life-changing PD for me and resulted in a fellowship to the monarch overwintering grounds in Mexico.
Today Erik is retired but still works to combat nature deficit disorder in children and adults. The embedded video shows “The Mad Hatters Tree Party”, a celebration of trees and Alice in Wonderland, that he helped bring to life. What a fantastic mash-up of science and English class! I could see teachers and students creating their own version of a Mad Hatter’s Tree Party, maybe even matching up older students with younger students.
The Children & Nature Network posted this video earlier today on Facebook and said, “Retired educator Erik Mollenhauer says we face an “extinction of experience” sitting indoors all day, online and playing with our mobile phones. He thinks we’re losing a critical connection to the natural world”.
Science and English- Perfect Together! STEManities is real, people!