Saving The Places

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Looking for a Meaningful Gift? Share Your Love of Nature.

giftLooking for a meaningful gift? Give the gift that will last a lifetime: Share your love of nature.

So much of what we give and get are temporal items that have little, lasting meaning to the recipient. What if you could give something that would inspire someone and have a lasting impact on their lives? Inspiring a love of nature and learning to live in balance with nature are probably the greatest gifts you can give. Just think about how many of us find solace and inspiration by taking a walk in the woods. Many younger people have not yet received that gift.

I have heard friends describe an event in their lives that inspired them. They now look back on that event as being pivotal and one that had lasting meaning to them. Here is a list of some of those meaningful gifts.

Books – There are so many books that have kindled a love of nature that it is hard to know where to start. My favorite books are listed in an earlier blog post that you can check on here:

Courses – There are a wide range of course one can take online, at local colleges, or through local groups such as the Master Naturalist and Master Gardener programs offered across the country. Agree to pay the tuition for a friend.


Outdoor Adventure Courses – Some of the most inspiring experiences available are the weekend or multiple week courses offered by groups such as Nols or Outward Bound. These programs are based all across the country.

Summer Vacation – We are lucky in this country to have hundreds of national parks and many more state parks. Take the whole family out and go visit them. They offer a wide range of experiences.

Semester Away – College and high school aged students can get off campus in a wide range of credit programs e.g., These programs are based across the globe and at Sea.

Canoe, kayak, backpack, and boots – Sometimes it takes no more than having the right equipment. Most equipment you can borrow or rent, but if you own it you may actually fine more times to use it. If you own it then all you have to do is to create the time and opportunity to use it.

Dad and daughter walking through woods, daughter on shoulders.

Dad and daughter walking through woods, daughter on shoulders.

Time – Probably the most important gift you can give is your time and your enthusiasm. Give an IOU Gift Card for a weekend, or even an hour away, pursuing something that you love. Sharing what is important to you in nature may be infectious to others.

Take-a-way: Think of all the ways you might inspire members of your family and your friends to get outside and enjoy the nature. They will appreciate your efforts for the rest of their lives.


  1. says:

    Hi Ned,   I want you to know that I’m an avid reader of  your Saving The Places.   I’m curious about your connection to the Semester Schools – is there one in particular that you have worked with?  Pamela and I are working with her son Brendan (HS senior, 17) to explore gap year options for next year.  I’ve crawled all over the website – they look like wonderful opportunities, expensive as well.  We will go to a gap year fair in early January, but want to look beyond that, too, for ideas of how he can have a growthful year away from home and not in college.  

    Thanks,   – Jill


    • nedtillman2 says:

      Leigh did many of her science credits away from campus. She did Sea Semester at Woods Hole and a program in Tanzania. Both of which were well run. As I understand it from my son-in-law who has done extensive outdoor leadership work, Outward Bound focuses on individual growth and team work whereas Nols focuses on technical skills. I do not have personal experience with or connection to the Semester Schools. I wish you the best in helping Brendan create the best plan for him.


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