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Local Educator Discovers How to Unleash Children's Love for Nature ​ | Environment

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Local Educator Discovers How to Unleash Children's Love for Nature ​
Local Educator Discovers How to Unleash Children's Love for Nature ​

Like many of us with a few years under our belt, Dave Bauer grew up in an era before video games and cellphones, when children enthusiastically played in the great outdoors until the streetlights went on. He thoroughly enjoyed exploring his natural surroundings, leaving no stone unturned and being completely intrigued by the creepy crawlers found in the soil beneath. 

Bauer’s youthful appreciation of nature led to a successful career as a teacher of environmental science and training others in creative thinking, change leadership and living sustainability. Following his retirement from the teaching profession, he turned his attention to several projects focused on reconnecting today’s youth with nature.

The Williamsville resident’s first book, “What’s Under That Rock, Papa?” made its debut in 2016. Released by Brandylane Publishers, Inc. and illustrated by Rochester Institute of Technology graduate Tia Canonico, the colorful children’s book is a wonderfully illustrated, interactive story for children to experience with an adult. Bauer’s thorough understanding of nature leads children and adults on an imaginative journey of discovery and insight in their own backyard and community. 

Bauer is also the founder of Creative Nature Play, a business that uses his knowledge of the outdoors to help children grow, learn and create in everyday, natural places. This endeavor brings to life Bauer’s vision to reignite the natural curiosity in children for discovering wonders in nature.

“Creative Nature Play is a child-centered experience where the natural curiosity of the children helps create the adventure,” said Bauer. “It’s an experience to be shared with parents or grandparents in settings that might include backyards, parks, sidewalks, schoolyards, playgrounds, ponds, creeks or woods. 

“It’s a proven fact that connecting with nature is important for both children and adults, and that time spent in nature builds confidence and fosters greater creativity and imagination,” Bauer added. ​"​It’s also a sad truth that the average American child today spends just four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors and over seven hours a day in front of a television or computer screen!”

For more information on Bauer’s book, please visit http://whatsunderthatrockpapa.com. And for information on Creative Nature Play, visit http://creativenatureplay.com. You can also follow Dave Bauer’s author page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whatsunderthatrockpapa for frequent updates.

To contact Bauer to schedule a book reading and signing event or an outdoor exploration workshop through Creative Nature Play, please call ​(716) 432-4294 or email davebauer@whatsunderthatrockpapa.com.

​To experience Bauer's upcoming outdoor excursions for area children, register to attend the Creative Nature Play program “Build a Hideout for Trolls” at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 4 or “The Water Cycle” on Friday, Sept. 1, at Monkey See, Monkey Do Children’s Bookstore, 9060 Main St., Clarence​. To register, visit https://fs12.formsite.com/msmdbooks/form3/index.html?1480439627784. The cost is $20 per program.

In the meantime, Bauer will continue his lifelong love affair with nature by joining his wife Dale ​and grandchildren ​on their frequent hiking, biking and outdoor excursions.

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