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How to appreciate the beauties of nature

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Since we've had our mountain bome, my husband and I have taken a special interest in the wildflowers of the area. This has led to greater appreciation of nature. We have done the following:

*Bought a wildfower book that gave us the names of the flowers as well as their many uses, such as their madicinal values.*Traveled to wilderness areas to see wildflowers in different habitats. I look for the beauty of a wildflower and take note of the areas where it grows and the season that it blooms.

*Shared our knowledge with others. Our friends have enjoyed us taking them into the mountains and telling them about the different plants. My husband has donducted tours of the wildflowers for the Scouts and other Church campling groups throughout the year. Those whom we tell about the flowers seem to have a great appreciation for nature and are careful not to destroy the plants.

*The study of wildfowers on family outings is a wonderful way to bring families closer together and can teach our families how the beauty of nature plays an important part in our lives

Carol Spendlove, Salt lake City Utah.

How we did it:

Planted garden, flowers

Last conference as I listened to Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council fo the Twelve, I decided that I needed to become more aware of the beauties of nature. So we planted a garden and more flowers.

But I've learned the most about appreciating beauty from our little daughters. One day I pointed out the beautiful sunset to them. Now they often tell me to look at it. One morning in early August, our 4-year-old and I awoke early to watch the sunrise. We sat on the porch and watched the changing colors and brightness on the clouds as the sun came up in the east. She has often talked of sunrises since. Just observing the beautiful skies has greatly increased my appreciation of God's daily artwork. - Susan H. Andersen, Preston, Idaho

Leave camp clean

"Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it," my father taught me at an early age. It has remained a practice I value and frequesntly put to use - in the preservation of nature.

When camping and enjoying the beauty of nature, I find it a pleasure rather than a chore to pick up a discarded can or wrapper along a trail. It's worth it to veer off the path to pick up a piece of glass or litter. I also try to leave a stack of wood at the campsite for the next camper. - Ruth Reneer, Del Mar, Calif.

'Leave only footprints'

During the summer, between semesters at BYU, my husband and I worked as river guides on the Colorado River as it goes through the Grand Canyon. We were constantly amazed at the resect the tourists and boatmen showed to nature. Arrowheads and Indian pottery pieces were loeft alone for all to enjoy to to mention the beaches left clean after 40 people had camped there the night before. "Take only pictures, leave only footprints" is a popular National Park Service motto. We feel it's a good guideline to help preserve the beauties of nature. - Wade and Amy Wixom, Provo, Utah

Reverence all things

From the time our family was young, we calledtheir attention to the beauties of nature. We taught them to not just look, but to see even the most minute blossoms in the grass and white clouds in a field of blue, as well as to listen to the song of the birs and wind in the pines. As they have grown, we are happy to see that they leave campsites and the forest as clean or cleaner than they found them.

Must overcome ignorance

I started by giving animal education lectures to school groups. it required a lot of study and research, which led to involvement in other areas of animal rehabilitaion and conservation.

I feel it is necessary to help people overcome their ignorance of nature. Agreat number of lessons can be learned from animals as we study them. I have prayed many times for particular animals in may care, and I know that God has a special, wonderful love for all His creations.

for instance, the old saying, "The only good snake is a dead snake" is narroe minded, cold and hard. God created snakes and, in their own ways, they are beautiful and have a funciton to serve in the life cycle. The more I learn about nature, the more respect I have for its Creator. - Janene Adamson, Victoria, Texas

Take time to study

If we take time to study about the trees, ants, wildlife or oceans, we will appreciate them more. If we take time to ponder on the beauties of nature, we will receive much peace, strenth and joy. If we pray continually in thanksgiving for our eyes to see and our ears to hear the beauties of nature, we will become more aware of our blessings.

When the beauties of nature are appreciated, we will preserve them. We may be inspired to clean up litter, grow large sunflowers for wild bird seed, or join a conservation group. - Ellie Mills, Vinton, Va.

Care for the land

A motto of the U.S. Forest Service is to care for the land and serve people. Having worked for the Forest Service for 19 years, I've been blessed to view nature almost on a daily basis.

I find nature to be perfectly organized. Plants and animals, mountains and valleys, lakes and streams were all created to beautify the earth and to gladden the heart of man, and to be received with thanksgiving. For example, leaves, after serving their purpose, don't fall unnoticed to the ground. The Master Artist has touched them for one final extravaganza of red, yellow and orange before winter arrives. - D. Kent Cornaby, Spanish Fork, Utah

Apply to your life

Regardless of the topic, I find that I'm better able to appreciate the teachings of the gospel when I apply them directly to my life. Taking a moment to notice the beauty in a flower, the strength of the ocean of the intricate design of an insect can remind me of eternal truths.

Each flower is beautifully different, and I admire its unique characteristics. Why can I not see the unique beauty in all my brothers and sisters? In the ocean, I see it accepting its tides - both high and low. Why do I continually force my will against His instead of experiencing the waves? And when I Pause to look twice, I see a praying manitis on a leaf. Again I'm reminded to "pray always." I find "answers" everywhere when I pause and am aware of His love and care in all creations, including myself. - Lynette Patterson, Fresno, Claif.

How to checklist:

1. Take time to look at 'God's daily artwork.'

2. Leave forest, camps cleaner than you found them.

3. Study and learn about wildlife, plants, the earth.

4. Apply inyour life the lessons learned form nature.

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Have you had good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Chruch News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Contributions may be edited or exerpted and will not be returned. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.