Nature is a school

Part two in my interview series. In this series of blog posts I’m researching the impact of nature. I realized that I have my perception of nature and I know what it means to me, but I’m really curious how others think about it. I’m hoping to collect many stories. Maybe in the end I have enough material to make some interesting conclusions. But there’s only one way to really find out.

This week I’d like to introduce you to Mieke.

We met during introduction week of our landscape architecture studies. We had a great connection right from the start. Each brought our strengths to the table and together we formed a great team in shared projects. Over the years I learned a lot from her. Right now she lives with her boyfriend and 2 year old son. Whenever I visit it still feels the same as the first year of our studies, feeling right at home. On my recent visit I interviewed her and it gave me some interesting new insights. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Can you define nature?

I find that a really difficult question. I actually think that nature is, as soon as you step outside. The wind, the animals, the plants, the complete picture. You can experience this in a small way close to home and on a large scale in nature reserves. For example, I can really enjoy a Great Tit in my garden, busy with all sorts of things.

So as soon as you step out the door you are in nature?

Yes, I think so. For me the weather is an important part of it.

So not just the physical things, but also the wind, the rain, the sun?

Yes.

How does nature affect your life?

It affects my life a lot. As a landscape designer I spend quite a lot of time with it. For instance, giving nature a helping hand is often part of projects I work on. Nature in combination with building projects or connecting nature areas. So in my work I am very busy with that. Privately I think it is important to educate my son about it. So he gets a connection with that, with animals and plants and their environment.

Why do you feel it’s important to give him that education?

It feels like the basics, it is the foundation of life. I think that if things are pointed out you’ll experience more of it. I noticed that myself when I was a young scout. You become so much more aware of your environment. During my education I learned to recognize plant species. The more I know, the more I then study and view my environment. I try to pass that on to my son.

What does nature mean to you?

Relaxation. I find experiencing nature really relaxing. It also makes me aware of my life. Take a walk outside, enjoy the birds. I think it is very beautiful.

What’s your favourite piece of nature?

That is very diverse. I like to go diving. Also underwater, nature is super beautiful. Both in the Netherlands and abroad. Or the Ardennes, the Alps, the vastness of such an area, I find very beautiful. Forests attract me the most. Walking in the forest is my most favorite, followed by diving. Diving provides a great contrast to what you see on land. Everything goes much slower there, it offers a lot of peace and quiet.

That’s funny, because my next question is, what activity do you prefer to do in nature? You actually already answered that.

Hiking, diving those two things. I feel that with hiking you experience the most of nature. You get the most of it.

The perfect speed, actually.

Yes. I also like cycling, then you have a little more wind and stuff, which is nice too. But I like walking or a via ferrata the best.

Being active.

Yes, I am not a person that likes to lay on the beach.

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