I think there are three kinds of relationships people have with nature.
1. Don’t care.
2. Respect & admire from afar based on conservation and/or fear.
3. Appreciate and inquire through hands-on experience.
I believe kids naturally fall into the third category. As a mother, I wholeheartedly encourage this kind of relationship even if it means a few squashed bugs as the kids learn a gentle touch, rocks in the dryer after a days hike, a clear-cut flower bed once in a while and an afternoon trying to catch a tiny lizard.