By Harry Kane
A community garden called the Growing Center is a destination for young children to discover the beauty of nature. One of the educators who stresses the importance of nature in a child’s development is Paula Jordan.
Jordan, 46, is a Somerville native who spent much of her early years outdoors.
“Everyday [as a child] we were outdoors. We played in the street, we played in the backyard, we played in vacant lots in the neighborhood; and my mother always took us for a walk to the Powderhouse Park,” said Jordan.
Jordan found green open spaces to be restorative and relaxing.
After working at the Massachusetts Audubon Society and Groundwork Somerville, Jordan was offered a position at the Growing Center.
She is the Coordinator for the Children and Nature Initiative, which is a program that engages children at an early age to become more aware of their natural surroundings.
In recent history Jordan acknowledges that children spend less time outdoors and more time in front of a computer or on their cell phone. Her goal is to reintroduce the importance of outdoor play by exposing children to nature.
“She seems very committed to finding different opportunities to bring awareness of the outdoors to people who live in the urban environment,” said Fred Hicks, a Somerville parent of three who brings his children to the Growing Center.
The hope, said Jordan, is to instill a love of nature at a young age that grows with them over time.