Allow me to introduce myself with this my first blog on our website.  I’m the new executive director at Focus on Nature.  Many of you may know me already through my role as lead instructor with FON for the past two years, and before that as publisher/editor/photographer with SNAP Guelph newspaper.  I will still be acting as a FON lead instructor in the classrooms – it’s a lot of fun – while working to expand the reach and raise the profile of the organization.  FON really makes a difference in young student’s lives – I’ve seen it time and time again – and I believe that if we build on our success here in Guelph we’ll help connect young people with nature in many more places as well.

One of the secrets of FON’s success is that young people, like so many of us, are fascinated with screen technology. Screens are ubiquitous in our lives now, we can’t seems to take our eyes off them. So we use that fascination, in the form of “point & shoot” digital cameras, to motivate children to go outdoors and explore. Learning to use technology  – in this case cameras –  as a vehicle for discovery of the beauty of nature, is good for the children and ultimately for the environment they will inherit.

It’s a simple idea and, thanks to the inspiration and early ground-breaking work of Shirley Hunt and Trina Koster, a successful one. So I invite you to join me, our volunteers and Board of Directors in working to make Focus on Nature an inspiration to children everywhere. If you have time, equipment or money to donate to this worthwhile enterprise, please give me a call. We’ll work together to make this world a better place!

Simon Bell