Kathleen Burton of the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary with the book The Lost Words for sale at Munro’s Books. Submitted

Kathleen Burton of the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary with the book The Lost Words for sale at Munro’s Books. Submitted

Saanich nature house looks to restore youth vernacular

‘Lost words’ alive at Swan Lake

There’s something missing in the floral and fauna of Greater Victoria.

Research shows children are spending increasingly less time in and among nature. This comes in spite of the fact the future of humanity would be better served if the youngest generations can learn to love, and nurture, the natural world.

In an attempt to better connect children with nature, Munro’s Books is donating $8 per copy sold of the popular British book The Lost Words to benefit educational programming at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. Authored by Robert MacFarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris, The Lost Words uses poems and illustrations to chronicle words reflecting the natural world that were dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

Words such as heron, acorn, conker, chestnut, raven, willow and fern were deemed uncommon in the modern vernacular of youth.

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MacFarlane argued we can’t expect children to love nature if they can’t even name a wren when they spot one.

“To remove integral words from nature only to replace them with words like ‘broadband,’ ‘bullet-point’ and ‘cut-and-paste’ seems a sad depiction of how the modernized world of computers and handheld devices,” said executive director Kathleen Burton of Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. “It not only takes us away from nature, it ironically removes nature from it all together. I understand that new words need to be introduced, but at what cost?

“The book illustrates words that are far from being extinct—many of the plants, animals and birds described can be seen at the Sanctuary today.”

reporter@saanichnews.com