First major decision to design the NBS courses was to define “nature.” While we all know what nature is, defining it clearly for an educational program presented challenges. After weeks of thought and consideration, I went for a historical definition. For hundreds of years (even thousands) the ancients have defined nature as consisting of 7 elements. The Chinese were very clear what they thought the 7 elements were: fire, water, air, wood, earth, metal and animals.
I made the strategy decision to eliminate metal and fire for two obvious reasons. I didn’t want students to experiment with fire while out in the woods, and to present challenges about metal would better be situated in a lab, not a field. Therefore, I have focus all my energy and attention to 5 topics or “elements” of nature: water, air, plants, soil (earth) and animals.