Restore Yourself on the Greenway

For 25 years, Tom Strid’s love and expertise of nature has delighted Kitsap County fourth-graders visiting the Hansville Greenway like a summer breeze on a hot day.

                “There are many ways to see, hear, feel and otherwise sense the natural world,” Tom counsels. “Take time  to look closely, to listen carefully. Explore how you respond emotionally to Nature.”

                We can all learn from Tom, who is one of several volunteers who take kids on a magical Nature tour on the Greenway annually. Kids learn how trees survive, view pond larva and nymphs through microscopes, even appreciate the use of the soft thimbleberry leaf as possible toilet paper.

                “There are so many things on the Greenway to appreciate,” Tom says. “I would suggest that you pay attention to light and shade, to different colors, to different shades of green, to the different leaf shapes and to your own sense of well-being.”

                Tom earned advanced degrees in biological science and plant biology, but you don’t need a science background to marvel at the hundreds of English daisies brightening the sides of Greenway trails.

Adding to the summer bouquet of color are yellow buttercups and dandelions and shoulder-high foxgloves in purple, pink, white and yellow. The bees and butterflies are in heaven.

White starflowers, pink candy flowers, red bleeding hearts and bright yellow, lily-like skunk cabbage blooms are worthy of a Monet painting, but they’re alive and brilliant on the Greenway. Does it get better than that?

Tom has loved Nature since boyhood and dedicated his life to sharing that love, a lesson we should all follow.

“Mother Nature is wonderful and amazing,” he says. “Take care of her.”

One final note: Foxgloves, buttercups, bleeding heart flowers are toxic to people and pets. Enjoy their beauty, but don’t  touch.

Cynthia Taggart