My kids and I recently got to try out Master Books newest Wonders of Creation book as part of our science studies, and I wrote a review of The Ecology Book here. I also interviewed authors Tom Hennigan and Jean Lightner to find out more about The Ecology Book.
Learning Table: What is ecology?
Tom & Jean: The study of living organisms and their relationship with each other and their environment.
LT: Is the study of ecology the same as nature study?
T & J: It is one important part of nature study. There are other things about nature that can be studied too (e.g. anatomy, physiology, genetics).
LT: Why is it important to study ecology?
T & J: An understanding of how living things interact can help us promote healthy interactions and avoid harmful ones. This has implications for human health, agriculture/world hunger, and preservation of the beauty in the world God created.
LT: What is the difference between The Ecology Book and traditional textbooks?
T & J: The Ecology Book is designed with homeschooling families in mind. Though anyone can use the book and learn much from it, The Ecology book is shorter and more narrowly focused than most textbooks. It gives an excellent introduction on one topic in biology: ecology with material and activities for every age level.
LT: Why is worldview important when studying science?
T & J: Everyone has a worldview. It helps them understand the world around them and make sense of their observations. It is critical to have a worldview that is consistent with the real world around us. If we do not, we will likely come to more incorrect conclusions and harm ourselves and those around us. A biblical worldview provided the basis for modern science and is important.
LT: What are some steps kids can take at home to be good stewards of the environment?
T & J: To be a good steward of the environment you have to care about it. When we realize that God brought forth his creation as a gift for our benefit and to showcase his invisible attributes in the visible creation (Rom. 1:20) we may be more apt to care for it. Parents can teach their kids these concepts by sharing Scripture together and greatly limiting their children’s time on computer games/technology and instead doing family activities together. Letting children play outside is a wonderful way for them to learn to appreciate the creation. The Ecology Book has several other ideas to help kids take the steps required to be good stewards.
LT: How can parents begin teaching young children creation science?
T & J: The Wonders of Creation series is one great place to start. Certainly there are other books and web resources that are valuable as well.
LT: Who are some people you feel made important contributions to the field of science?
T & J: Francisco Redi, Louis Pasteur, and Joseph Lister are some that come to mind. Others who contributed to the field of ecology are discussed in the book.
LT: What do you think is a scientist’s most useful tool?
T & J: Realistically, God, since apart from Him we can do nothing. However, for science specifically, keen observation and good critical thinking skills are essential.
LT: And lastly, there are several titles in the Wonders of Creation series. Which of these, other than The Ecology Book would be a good starting point for families studying creation science?
T & J: Any would be excellent. It is best to start with a topic that you find interesting.