The Center for Environmental Education and Discovery has launched a groundbreaking effort to establish an education center in Bellport.  After three years of hard work, the board of directors has earned the key to a large building where future programs will be conducted.

Eric Powers and Bernadette Muellers are the driving force behind this initiative. Although the groundwork has been laid, a huge fund-raising effort is under way to restore the building that will become the center. (See photo). The present and former name is Washington Lodge. A group of monks  conducted winter retreats during winter months . During the summer months, it was used for education programs for local children. “Our teachers deserve apples. Your child deserves the excitement of discovery.” When only one monk was left, a duel effort to buy the property was created. The Post Morrow Foundation and the Town of Brookhaven joined together to set the goal in motion for a year round environmental education site.

I mispronounced the acronym creed. Bernadette corrected me. “Sounds like seed.” For sure, plenty of seeds are going to be sewn on the grounds and building when it opens.  The “D” inspired me to philosophize. Children will arrive and make discoveries…about themselves, about the adults, and about the natural world.

Being able to facilitate discover by others, adults must discover how to enable discovery. No problem. Everybody makes discoveries all the time. What is necessary is channeling. If we put youth is outdoor settings and show model discovery for them, we do them a great service. To know a thing is to own it. This is an important way to save the world. Connection to nature creates the love of nature. This is the underlying mission of outdoor education. If you know it you love it and if you love it you want to keep it, protect it, save it.

There are thousands of examples of huge discoveries. Science thrives on this.  Many discoveries  are accidental. Walking along a trail, I happen upon a garter snake. I crouch and watch, see new things I haven’t seen before. Discovery I s “Hey, I learned something knew!”

The focus is to encourage discovery, to share discoveries, to cherish and somehow honor them. Here is where art plays a role. Writing, photography, sketching, painting, singing, acting, sculpting…are all forms of processing discoveries. The dictionary says “to make the known visible; to expose; to obtain sight or knowledge of  for the first time; to find out what you did not precisely know; requires exploration or investigation. With discovery, we lead our charges to the water if they are thirsty, not only physically, but mentally. Awareness helps, curiosity helps. We help. Earth literacy is the most important thing we have to do to awaken the unawake.