Local author shares her love of nature with children in Saluda
Published 12:13 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Nature Connections Storytime, a fun four-week program for kids, coming to Saluda Library
By Grant Langston
Local author Elle Travis has a passion for teaching children about nature and protecting the environment. This passion has led Elle to the founding of her non-profit charity, Caregivers of Mother Earth, and she’s working with the Saluda library to help spread her message through a four-week program she is calling Nature Connections Storytime.
“I had never thought about writing children’s stories but it came to my attention in 2020 just how little time children spend outdoors in unstructured playtime, compared to time on technology,” says Travis. “I said ‘something needs to be done.’” This was what inspired Elle to become a writer of children’s books.
In order to share her love of nature with children in a fun way, she introduced a playful fairy to be the story’s narrator, Light Feather. Elle drew inspiration from indigenous elders and other knowledgeable individuals who shared ancient customs with her to create thirteen stories that form an overarching set, grouped by seasons. The children in the stories wanted to become Caregivers of Mother Earth, which is also the title of one of the stories. She then used this to create the non-profit charity of the same name.
Caregivers of Mother Earth has funded Nature Connection Storytime events for over 80 children, and has served to educate children about their relationship with nature through activities teaching about what it means to be a good steward of the environment. This is done through nature walks, creating vision boards, and making fun projects like bird feeders to heighten their awareness of nature. Elle has also partnered with her local 4-H Club to deliver a program that will encompass daily themed activities for the week, including soil, plants/trees, animals, pollinators, and water. Children see how everything is connected and that when you give to nature, gives back to you.
On September 1, Travis is on the agenda to present the final proposal for Hendersonville, N.C. to become the cornerstone Caregivers of Mother Earth city. This is an exciting time for the organization, as Elle says, “This will be a pivotal moment to work with all aspects of the city to set deep roots to devise a scalable model to replicate in other locations far and wide.”
In May 2022, Elle met Judy Thompson at The Garden Jubilee in Hendersonville. Ms. Thompson shared her vision and wanted to help spread the message of Caregivers of Mother Earth to Saluda and the Sister City of Saluda, Carunchio, Italy. There are even plans to personally deliver a set of Nature Connections books to Carunchio next year.
Travis and Thompson are thrilled to expand the message of Caregivers of Mother Earth to Saluda, and in time, any other communities that will listen to their ideas to help children appreciate nature and respect all life.
“I have been allowing caregivers of Mother Earth to go with the wind in our sails. Just like in life the winds of change can blow in different directions,” Elle told me of the evolution of the charity. She concluded with the admirable and inspiring, “I pray every day to stay connected to God, Source, and Spirit to be guided to do the best for all involved. So far in two and a half years, I’d say it’s working!”
Elle Travis will lead the four-week Nature Connections Storytime at the Saluda Library, Mondays at 10 a.m., starting July 18. The program is designed for children ages 5-10. For more information, call the Saluda Library at (828) 722-5218.