Building Connections to Your Woods
It’s easy to see why you love your woods—they provide you with beauty, enjoyment, a place to connect with nature and a possible source of income too. But does the next generation share your love for the land?
If they lack that connection, it can lead to conflict when planning for the future. The good news is you can build and strengthen their affinity for the woods with a few simple steps.
Tell a story. Talk about your experiences in your woods, why you own them and what you like about them. If the land is part of your family’s history or an historic site, share that history with the next generation.
Take a hike. Go exploring in your woods together. Get to know the resident critters, bugs and plants, and encourage your children or grandchildren to write down or draw what they see.
Get to work. Organize a family work party and clear trails, plant trees, or fix fences as a team. Enjoy a meal together afterwards and take pride in what you accomplished as a family.
Play it up.Make places to play a permanent part of your property. Depending on your family’s interests, build hiking trails, picnic areas, gun, paintball or archery ranges, or hunting stands. The easier it is for your family to camp, fish, hunt or play on your property, the more they will appreciate and enjoy it.
Go public. Consider sharing your property with local schools or community members by offering public tours through your local forestry association chapter. Encourage your children or grandchildren to help lead the tours or create souvenirs for visitors.
Just ask. Involve the next generation in the decisions you make about the property. Even your family’s youngest members may have something valuable to say, and taking the time to listen will give them the confidence they’ll need to make their own decisions in the future.
- Find more family activities at Project Learning Tree.
Your family’s hands-on time in your woods—the hours they spend exploring, working and playing there—will deepen their affinity for the land and their concern for its future. Once you’re ready to plan for that future, there are several options to consider.
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