“Now That’s Bullyl” – article published by Appleseeds Magazine, April, 2011.
* Art work by Andrea E.C. Bennett
“Who knows who John Muir was?”
One hand went up.
“He had something to do with nature,” one boy said.
“Yes!” I betrayed my surprise and went on to explain how he was a naturalist, activist, writer and founder of the Sierra Clubs.
“Who knows who Theodore Roosevelt was?” I asked.
“Wasn’t he a president?” another student answered.
“Yes, and he was John Muir’s camping buddy,” I added.
TR as President Roosevelt was known, was also famous for the line, “Now That’s Bully!” It was a phrase he used over and over during his camping trip with John Muir.
For the rest of the class and for the next three library classes at Greenfield Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, I read “Now That’s Bully!” published in the April issue of Appleseeds.
John Muir lobbied President Theodore Roosevelt to preserve Yellowstone Valley and other forests from settlers, lumber companies and others destroying the natural world he loved.
Each student in the second, third and fourth grades wrote down a fact of John Muir’s life and a comparable fact about their own life: some children liked walking through the woods, several liked camping, many loved the outdoors, etc.
They read John Muir’s famous quotes and interpreted what John Muir meant by those statements. They also read more facts and figures about him.
They learned that Theodore Roosevelt declared Yellowstone Valley a part of Yosemite National Park because of one camping trip long ago.
By the end of the class, each child knew who John Muir was (and Theodore Roosevelt, too).