Taking Care of Nature
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Taking Care of Nature

Jewish Value:

     Protect Nature,Repair the World

Lesson Summary:

This lesson comes from www.LearningToGive.org, a resource that offers philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement. This lesson is part of a unit called "This Land is Our Land." The unit s purpose is:  "This unit teaches young students a sense of responsibility to take care of the environment that G-d created. It also demonstrates that even young students have the power to contribute to the community. One main piece of this is the importance of recycling. Students not only learn about the environment and creation, but also perform acts that preserve the environment.

Focus Questions:

  • What is the connection between creation and taking care of the environment?
  • Why is it important to take care of the environment?
  • What is my role in caring for the environment? "
The purpose stated on the site for this lesson is:
"This lesson will help students learn the value of taking care of the world. It will help them form a connection with nature and want to protect the things that G-d created."


"In this lesson, the learner will:

  • manipulate creation cutouts to show that G-d created the world step-by-step.
  • state that G-d placed people in charge of caring for nature.
  • give examples of ways people can take care of the environment.
  • grow plants and take care of them."

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Background information on this value:

“The Eternal One planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there Adam, whom G-d had formed.…  The Eternal One took Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden to till it and tend it.” -Genesis 2:8, 15

The Hebrew word for nature is teva.  It is considered a mitzvah to protect or guard nature--sh’mirat ha-teva.  Judaism tries to instill within humanity the idea that people are partners with G-d in doing the work of creation.  Humanity does not exist in a vacuum, but shares the Earth with other living things.  There is symbiosis in existence with every element dependent in one way or another upon every other element.  We are to be thankful for the bounty of the growing things of this world.  This lesson is taught in the story of creation found in the Book of Genesis, but also reinforced in the writings of the Rabbis.  Incumbent upon this, as well, is the notion of ba’al tashchit--we should not be destructive, but rather work to preserve the good and useful things of this world.  This, too, is our obligation.

Questions for Reflection:

1. How is our environment a blessing that we should take care of?

2. What are some ways in which you can care for the environment?

3. How does this value connect to tikkun olam--to repair the world?

4. How can you incorporate this value within your classroom?

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Materials and resourcesmore


Videos that highlight the value Protect Nature that can support this lesson:



Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

Songs about Protecting Nature:


literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
The Curious Garden Peter BrownPeter BrownThe Curious Garden tells the story of “one boy’s quest for a greener world.” In a drab city of concrete, a young boy unexpectedly finds plants struggling to survive. He patiently nurtures them and as the garden thrives, the boy’s world is transformed.
The Earth Book Todd ParrTodd ParrThe Earth Book discusses the important subject of conserving Earth’s natural resources. Using his signature colorful illustrations and whimsical storytelling, Todd Parr empowers children and adults with ways they can help save the Earth by “going green”: “I take care of the Earth because I know I can do little things every day to make a BIG difference.” The book offers a practical list of simple activities easily understood by young children, followed by clear explanations of how those simple things can have a large impact on the health of our planet. Appropriately, this book is printed on recycled materials.
Just A Dream Chris Van AllsburgChris Van AllsburgWalter has a dream about the future when the Earth is destroyed by pollution. He now understands why it is important to take care of the environment.
Roscoe and the Pelican Rescue Lynn Rowe ReedLynn Rowe ReedTwo cousins are looking forward to the summer at the beach in Louisiana. But because of an oil spill, the beach is closed. Their dog finds a pelican covered in oil. Aunt Olivia teaches the boys how to rescue and care for oil-covered animals.
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth Mary McKenna SiddalsAshley WolffThis recipe-style book guides readers through the compost ingredients, from A to Z, in our everyday lives.
Our Class Is Going Green Kindergarten Students of the Oak Park Elementary School Children write and illustrate their ideas for “going green.”
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors

LearningToGive.org republished with permission