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The New Teen Scene: Leaf Looking!

2010 October 12
(c) JVick 2010

(c) JVick 2010

You hear a lot about kids and teens not spending enough time outdoors these days. Teens are constantly “plugged-in” texting and staring at the TV all afternoon, etc. I know when I was growing up we played both outside and inside. This past weekend I was incredibly pleased to see a ton of teens out “leaf looking” at the base of Pikes Peak.

Here in the mountains of Colorado, you always see the “leaf lookers” come out every fall to see the beautiful colors of the changing trees. We always giggle a bit because they are usually older and drive REALLY slow through the mountain roads.

But this year, I was amazed to see how many kids, especially teens, were out enjoying the beautiful fall colors. Teens were running, laughing, taking photos on their phones and sending them to their friends. Nature and texting DO mix!

I think teens and parents hear a lot about getting outside more. I worry it becomes a “to-do-list item” instead of an enjoyable, repeatable experience. So, in my view, let the kids play video games, tweet and text, but balance it out with fun outdoor family or group activities – like going to a favorite hiking trail and seeing all the great fall colors. Make it an annual family event!

About the author: Wendy Dew has been with EPA for 13 years and is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. charles roberson permalink
    October 12, 2010

    One of the most enjoyable subjects in school was forestry I can to this day remember most of the names of trees common to south georgia. All children should have the chance to learn about nature and our enviroment.

  2. armansyahardanis permalink
    October 12, 2010

    Sure…. I agree with you 100 % !!!
    Children always move and made us to be create. They make the parents get the inspiration to grow them best. They behavior make the families hopefully they bring old and new habit. They are human resource. I cries remembered for Kenya’s children. And also children in my country who are malnutrition. They don’t know how to play video games. They don’t know what happen in the future, because they want to die immediately, like their parents hoping….

  3. Chris Ambrose permalink
    October 12, 2010

    Wow! My sister lives near the base of Pikes Peak, sent her this article and did the twitter-thing, too!
    So glad kids are in to nature. It the yin & yang of it all I think. Too much inside can be.. boring! Walked my little one to pre-school thru 1st grade and did the same things. Leaf looking, picking up and closely examining was part of his childhood teachings & an experience he won’t forget. He had great teachers, reminded me of my own youth. So nice!
    We still collect leaves and put them under Halloween & Thanksgiving settings on the dinner table, near the front door. Put nuts and strange looking seeds/pods we find out with the leaves and gourdes. Smells terrific too, use a splash of pine to top it off!
    Nice blog! :)

  4. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company permalink
    October 13, 2010

    I thought you might have been talking about the Nissan ‘Leaf’.

    Oh well, those concerned about the environment and the economy might be interested in the following:

    Standing Forests Solve Global Warming At No Cost

    The game winning answer to global warming is to create standing forests, where every ton of newly existing forest mass, on a sustaining basis, compensates by CO2 capture for the burning of a ton of coal, approximately. Key to this solution is distribution of water in North America on a continental basis.
    I have been dismayed by promotion of electric vehicles with implicit increased use of electricity and the associated increase in CO2. Viable, large scale solutions to this problem have been absent. But I have been shocked by the planning put forward by the US EPA ** regarding ‘carbon’ capture and sequestration (CCS), where the capture cost burden per ton of coal used would be up to $180-$320. This would be for capture of CO2 only, with additional costs for transportation and pumping it into caverns being not addressed, but acknowledged as additional expense.
    Thus motivated, I looked for a better solution, and found that China seems to have taken the lead over our environmentalists in this very practical matter. A year ago, in a speech about how China was planning to react to the global warming problem, President Hu spoke of “forest carbon”. ***
    It is not a big step to think that this kind of solution would be possible in North America, Brazil perhaps, and other places yet to be identified. It is a big step to think big about water distribution that would be needed to accomplish CCS on the needed scale, but in North America this is within reach, with the action of wise government assumed. Of course there would be a need for due diligence in protecting Northern ecosystems, as well as due deference to rights of others. The goal of CO2 mitigation is not just our concern, so there would seem to be motivation for Canada to lend their essential support to such a project.
    Every ton of forest mass, that exists on a sustaining basis, sequesters CO2 sufficiently to compensate for the burning of a ton of coal, approximately. As it grows, it captures that CO2 from the atmosphere. Mature forests must be maintained and harvested wisely, and new forests must continue to grow.
    Using minimally productive land in selected regions, a fifty year project should be possible, where fifty years of coal fired power plant operation would be supported. In this time we would need to solve the problems of nuclear waste, so that there could be an eventual transition to that form of energy. During this fifty years, we would also need to work toward minimizing the amount of energy needed for our vehicles.
    This forest project, along with ancillary agricultural development, would be quickly self supporting. We know about the agricultural results from the latest California Aquaduct project implemented in 1963 through the California Central Valley. The forest part would be something new.
    The immediate benefit of such a project would be high quantity job creation, but up front investment in the permanent forest infrastructure would be repaid over the long term of highly productive operation. A large cadre of trained workers for forest management, a large expansion of agricultural operations, and a long term flow of export products would lift us from our current employment debacle.
    We see this as a public project that should appeal to all political strains, since it would create a backbone infrastructure that would set the stage for use of energy to continue functioning of our developed world without damage to the global environment.
    Implementing such a concept would require much detail in its actual design, but feasibility in general is not in question. This would be a massive federal project that must be handled by government, both in regard to international water negotiations and financial arrangements.
    Is there a political force that can handle such a project?
    ** The announced plan by the EPA is to require ‘best available technology’ and the recent report by them (Sept 2010) said ‘carbon’ capture would cost up to $95 per ton of CO2. Working this out in terms of the burden on the use of a ton of coal shows that the burden for use of a ton of Powder River Basin coal (half the element carbon by weight) will be about $180 per ton of that coal, and higher carbon coal would incur proportionately higher burden, up to around $320 per ton.
    *** President Hu said, “— we will energetically increase forest carbon — we will endeavor to increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020 from 2005 levels.” ( This was reported by Joe Romm at his ‘climateprogress’ web site.

  5. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company permalink
    October 13, 2010

    You might be interested in solving environmental and economic problems:

    Standing Forests Solve Global Warming At No Cost

    The game winning answer to global warming is to create standing forests, where every ton of newly existing forest mass, on a sustaining basis, compensates by CO2 capture for the burning of a ton of coal, approximately. Key to this solution is distribution of water in North America on a continental basis.
    I have been dismayed by promotion of electric vehicles with implicit increased use of electricity and the associated increase in CO2. Viable, large scale solutions to this problem have been absent. But I have been shocked by the planning put forward by the US EPA ** regarding ‘carbon’ capture and sequestration (CCS), where the capture cost burden per ton of coal used would be up to $180-$320. This would be for capture of CO2 only, with additional costs for transportation and pumping it into caverns being not addressed, but acknowledged as additional expense.
    Thus motivated, I looked for a better solution, and found that China seems to have taken the lead over our environmentalists in this very practical matter. A year ago, in a speech about how China was planning to react to the global warming problem, President Hu spoke of “forest carbon”. ***
    It is not a big step to think that this kind of solution would be possible in North America, Brazil perhaps, and other places yet to be identified. It is a big step to think big about water distribution that would be needed to accomplish CCS on the needed scale, but in North America this is within reach, with the action of wise government assumed. Of course there would be a need for due diligence in protecting Northern ecosystems, as well as due deference to rights of others. The goal of CO2 mitigation is not just our concern, so there would seem to be motivation for Canada to lend their essential support to such a project.
    Every ton of forest mass, that exists on a sustaining basis, sequesters CO2 sufficiently to compensate for the burning of a ton of coal, approximately. As it grows, it captures that CO2 from the atmosphere. Mature forests must be maintained and harvested wisely, and new forests must continue to grow.
    Using minimally productive land in selected regions, a fifty year project should be possible, where fifty years of coal fired power plant operation would be supported. In this time we would need to solve the problems of nuclear waste, so that there could be an eventual transition to that form of energy. During this fifty years, we would also need to work toward minimizing the amount of energy needed for our vehicles.
    This forest project, along with ancillary agricultural development, would be quickly self supporting. We know about the agricultural results from the latest California Aquaduct project implemented in 1963 through the California Central Valley. The forest part would be something new.
    The immediate benefit of such a project would be high quantity job creation, but up front investment in the permanent forest infrastructure would be repaid over the long term of highly productive operation. A large cadre of trained workers for forest management, a large expansion of agricultural operations, and a long term flow of export products would lift us from our current employment debacle.
    We see this as a public project that should appeal to all political strains, since it would create a backbone infrastructure that would set the stage for use of energy to continue functioning of our developed world without damage to the global environment.
    Implementing such a concept would require much detail in its actual design, but feasibility in general is not in question. This would be a massive federal project that must be handled by government, both in regard to international water negotiations and financial arrangements.
    Is there a political force that can handle such a project?
    ** The announced plan by the EPA is to require ‘best available technology’ and the recent report by them (Sept 2010) said ‘carbon’ capture would cost up to $95 per ton of CO2. Working this out in terms of the burden on the use of a ton of coal shows that the burden for use of a ton of Powder River Basin coal (half the element carbon by weight) will be about $180 per ton of that coal, and higher carbon coal would incur proportionately higher burden, up to around $320 per ton.
    *** President Hu said, “— we will energetically increase forest carbon — we will endeavor to increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020 from 2005 levels.” ( This was reported by Joe Romm at his ‘climateprogress’ web site.

  6. Anonymous permalink
    October 15, 2010

    Aloha! app

  7. alex permalink
    October 17, 2010

    I think this is a good point about not making it a choir like some sort of weekly obligation.
    I think the way to get your kids outdoors is start off young. It is really difficult to get your kids interested in going outdoors where it may be cold and wet, and heaven forbid, involve some exercise. When they are completely used to the comfort of being inside.
    I see a great difference between people who grew up in cities when they were young to people who grew up in the country.

    As obesity is becoming an increasing epidemic, the last thing we want is our kids to be too used to lounging around in the comfort of a modern home.
    People who were not exposed to the outdoors from an early age see it more of a choir, a token gesture, a “should do”. There is a great article about how to get your kids outdoors, and involve and engage them.
    Getting kids outdoors at the education website.
    It is hard if you live in a city to make special trips just to go for a walk or get in the trees, but it really will be of benefit at the time and for the future.

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