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Emerson Society awards grant for San Marcos nature guide

Date of Release: 03/14/2006

SAN MARCOS—San Marcos children will soon have a colorful booklet to help them identify plants and wildlife along the San Marcos River, thanks to a grant from the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society to Texas State University-San Marcos.

Drawing of a green leaf with redChildren in Camp Fire USA from the have drawn pictures of San Marcos-area plants and wildlife for a book intended to help children identify plants and wildlife along the San Marcos River, thanks to a grant from the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society to Texas State University-San Marcos.

Under the grant, students in professor Nancy Wilson’s technical communication class at Texas State are working with children from local Camp Fire USA groups to produce the booklet that will identify plants and wildlife for young hikers in the Texas Nature Conservancy reserve across from Rio Vista Dam. The children in Camp Fire USA have drawn pictures of the area’s plants and wildlife, and the technical communication students are assembling them for publication as well as creating easy-to-use and accurate images of the flora and fauna that will help children on their nature hikes. The booklet will also contain quotes on nature by the 19th-Century American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson and an introduction by Professor Steve Wilson, a member of the Texas State English faculty who obtained the grant. The booklet should be available for check-out this summer at San Marcos elementary schools, the San Marcos Library and local businesses and restaurants.

The grant from the Emerson Society is the first to be awarded under a program focused on promoting Emerson’s ideas beyond the classroom and in the community, said Mr. Wilson, who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Emerson and the Transcendental Movement that Emerson inspired.

“Emerson believed that people gained insight and spiritual renewal when they removed themselves from society for a while and spent time in the natural world,” Wilson said. “He asked that adults try to see the world as children see it, full of wonder and curiosity. Although the booklet is designed for children, it will be best used if adults share the experiences with young naturalists. As Emerson explained, we realize in nature our relationship to the world in which we live, and the deeper meanings of our own lives.”