Connecting with Nature to Connect with our Inner Green – Dr. Katie Belisle-Iffrig

A Green Gab Podcast

environmental education connecting nature green gab podcast katie belisle-iffrig

On the Green Gab, Dr. Katie Belisle-Iffrig gabbing about her book Going Green for the Genius.

At a very early age, Dr. Katie found a love for nature. She grew up and earned her Bachelor’s degree in biology and a Master’s degree in botany specializing in marine botany and toxic marine algae. She spent a lot of time in the lab and realized that she wanted to be outdoors, so she decided to follow her love of nature and went on to earn her PhD in outdoor recreation.

Dr. Katie came to St. Louis to work in the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Center. There she created a lot of information about gardens – butterfly gardens, youth gardens and was in on the ground floor of the plastic pot recycling program.

The Kemper Center provides recreation, education and resources for Midwestern home gardeners. It includes eight (8) acres of residential display gardens in 23 different gardens. There also is an 8000-square foot pavilion with loads of resources – tool and seed catalogs, a “plant doctor” desk, a gardening book reference library, classroom, indoor gardening displays and more.

 

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Environmental Education

Dr. Katie sees herself as an educator, so she wrote her book to educate people on how their actions impact the environment and in turn, how the environment impacts human health. Her motivating factor was her daughters. She wanted them to know that she did something for them. She wanted to leave them a legacy and wanted them to know that she cares about the water they drink and the air they breathe and the open spaces that they need.

It’s important to engage young people as early as elementary school. Environmental education can be a part of education at all levels. There’s room for everyone in every occupation and every walk of life to understand the environment and how it impacts the people in and connected to their occupation and lives.

Environmental education is simply about connecting the dots. If you just have the information and are aware of the impacts, then you can figure out next steps. While it’s not hard to do, you do have to think a little different. There are so many people who want to change and do the right thing but don’t want to invest the energy to figure out what works for them.

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Going Green is a Journey

Dr. Katie’s big mission is to help people get started with the little things and showing them the benefits of how their life could be and help their community. There is so much to be gained from your actions being green is good for your health in every possible way not just physically but spiritually and emotionally.

Going Green is a journey and sometimes it can get frustrating, but you have to keep moving slowly down the path, it’s not just going to change overnight but it gets easier. If Dr. Katie has to pick on thing on the journey to green, it would be to get your kids out in nature. We spend around 86% of our time indoors and we are very disconnected from nature.

Early engagement in nature with a caring adult, will help them learn early the importance of the earth we all live on and make the connection. It is so relaxing and peaceful to be outside in the nature and it’s right outside your door. You don’t have to go far way to get into nature. You can simply look at it or listen to it and build a relationship with nature. Just do something – pick a few new things that connect you to nature and do it! Make it a new habit.

Sometimes a very seemingly single action can make a huge difference.”

Do something, pick some things and just do something.”

Food is a big part of our lives. We don’t think many people make the connection between what we eat and how it impacts our world or community. A lot of people think, “well if I eat local or organic that’s enough.” But we have to think past that. Food and agriculture is big business and has a far-reaching impact far beyond our plates and grocery stores.

It’s a hot topic and it can be very complicated, and it can be very tricky, and deceiving. For example, when you pick up something and it says “natural” that means literally almost nothing. Dr. Katie’s book is very educational and helps with what to do and why to do it. It’s important to understand what we eat and where it comes from.

“Eating closer to the earth, not only is it healthier but it’s also a more efficient way for us to consume our calories, our energy, and our nutrition and you broke it down in such a way that’s so reinforcing.”

One thing that Dr. Katie loves about her book is that it has so many links to websites to help you along your journey. There are many resources on the web that you can link to that also can further your learning. “Anytime that you are educated about something, you should share that.”

Connect the dots and take your kids outside!

Resources

Going Green for the Genius, by Dr. Katie Belisle-Iffrig

Kemper Center for Home Gardening

Missouri Botanical Garden

Plastic Pot Recycling

Plant Finder

Sustainable Gardening

If you’re interested in environmental education, every week on iTunes and on The Green Gab Podcast, we gab and share what we’ve done, as well as tips for greening up your home, your job, your family and your life! Get in on the gab for why green matters – to you, your family and friends and your community.

Get Marla’s book Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better HomeFor more information about the show, Marla at marla@greenhomecoach.com or Tony at tpratte@thesoundroom.comI’d love to speak at your next event – for ideas check out my speaking information. Thank you and have a blessed day. 

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