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Advice for parents and teachers; How to encourage youngsters to explore nature; Nature, Children, and You, by Paul E. Goff. Athens: Ohio University Press. 144 pp. $14.95 in hardcover, $8.95 in paperback. (Parents.)

How can you help instill a love for nature in children when you don't know much about it yourself? ''Leave it to the naturalists'' has often been a simple enough answer. But Paul Goff shows that nature's charms are too important to be saved up for the once-a-year school field trip.

Instead, he says, it's possible for any adult to take children on an enjoyable tour through nature's wonderlands - even without knowing Latin species names.

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This is a ''how-to'' book. The main portion contains over 300 useful techniques and examples that show how to interpret nature effectively. Author Goff shows how common sense and intelligent guessing can bring nature's mysteries to life. He offers examples of how to arouse a child's curiosity, and assurances that youngsters are packed with natural inquisitiveness - ''they'll seldom become bored.''

Goff's intent is to show that a walk through a forest or field, or around a pond can be an enriching experience for the whole family, or for any group of adults and children. His rule of thumb: ''Don't make nature something complicated.'' For those who still hesitate, he adds that children aren't put off by that straightforward answer, ''I don't know.''

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