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Reconnect to Nature!

2011 April 19

By Wendy Dew

Many children today have a disconnect with nature. Many children have not had the opportunities we had growing up to freely and creatively play outside – running in a field, or tromping through the woods or wading in a stream…

Programs all over the country are popping up to take the lead in getting kids outside in an unstructured, creative play format. One such program in Florida was funded by two Edge of Excellence grants obtained by a local teacher. Funding from the Education Foundation of Sarasota County provided the teacher with the tools to develop interactive nature-based programs for her students. The money covered the cost of binoculars for each student and field guides to watch Florida birds, trees, flowers and butterflies. Thanks to these grants, the teacher was able to obtain additional books for the classroom as well as transportation to local parks. The students truly experienced nature. Their learning experience did not end once they left the parks. The students documented each flower, plant and bird they spotted after identifying them with their field guides.

I remember spending my childhood in the woods watching nature, playing with my friends, and roaming the neighborhood on my bike. I feel kids today are truly missing out on creative play in nature. I think every child should have the opportunity to explore the great outdoors. I think every child should be allowed to develop a sense of place. I think every child should grow up appreciating nature and strive to protect it.

About the author: Wendy Dew is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8 in Denver, Colorado.

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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12 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    April 19, 2011

    I Think Every Child Needs Commandant !!!

    Sure, Commandant is older, smarter and guider than a group. Cells system should be form a troop. Like Boy/Girl Scout Troops, or any else. Environmental War is one of the nature games that they like. But, really, those games are loosing here. I am so sad, Mrs. Dew….

  2. Joaquim Trindade da Silva permalink
    April 19, 2011

    Este artigo demonstra bem as alterações educacionais que da-mos aos nossos filhos. Mas isso deve-se que todos nos saímos do interior do país e nos fixamos nas grandes cidades. Daí que a nova geração já não cresce no campo mas sim nas grandes cidades e com enormes condições de acesso ás novas tecnologias daí que cada vez mais se distanciam na Natureza.

  3. Alexander permalink
    April 19, 2011

    You are right. It is good.

  4. Linda permalink
    April 19, 2011

    What a great program! As a child, I had very little knowledge of or interest in birds … I didn’t become a birdwatcher until I was in my 20s. I was stationed in Europe and was intrigued by the wide variety of birds that came to the simple feeders I’d placed outside my kitchen window. In no time at all, I was hooked. I took my binoculars home on leave; we put up sunflower feeders and I let my mom borrow the binoculars for a bit one afternoon … then my sister, my neice, and my nephew all had a turn. That was years ago, but we’re all avid birdwatchers even now. Getting kids in on the fun is a great way to help build an interest and a hobby that can last a lifetime and span generations.

  5. Harris Mills permalink
    April 19, 2011

    On weekends have students declare a CARBON FAST. On a fast day, we walk to where we must go. We turn the furnace or air conditioner off and dress for the weather. We sit in the warmth of the sun or the cool of the shade. We cook with a solar stove, or eat only raw fruit, vegetables and nuts. We use no electrical power generated by fossil fuels. We arise at sunrise and rest at dark. Thus, we declare our unity with the poor and indigenous people of the world now suffering from the extremes of weather and the collective effect of our life styles.

  6. Marmalade Hockey permalink
    April 20, 2011

    I am thankful that, as a child, I was exposed to the outdoors in heavy doses. Not only was my back yard a treasure trove of paths and fallen trees, but I was involved in Boy Scouts, as well. In Boy Scouts, I gained an appreciation for the outdoors, as we took part in various hikes, camp-outs, etc. If I had more time today, I’d still like to do some of those things again – rock climbing, kayaking, etc. However, I do credit that exposure to the outdoors with being the impetus for my involvement in outdoor sports today. I have my own hockey blog, where I often make posts stressing the need for kids to enjoy the outdoors when they are young so that they develop a love for physical activity. It’s good to be well rounded, essentially. Good post.

  7. Jeff Anderson permalink
    April 24, 2011

    I really love the idea of involving children and teens into nature like picnic, camping, trekking etc. instead of facing the whole day into computers.. This should go more often…

  8. milner permalink
    May 25, 2011

    I like the concept of involving children into nature because nature is one of the very beautiful thing in world.

  9. Roseann Norman permalink
    May 25, 2011

    This is a very informative site for kids and teens. I really appreciate to authors view. The reason behind it teens need a guide for campaigning,tracking.

  10. william johnson permalink
    May 25, 2011

    you are right today many children disconnect with nature they need to go outdoor where they can feel fresh and healthy.

  11. san orient permalink
    May 25, 2011

    reconnecting nature is great though I really appreciating it as I am facing same kind of problem with my child. now onward i am going to arrange picnic and nature traveling so he get friendly with natural ecosystem

  12. David Scott permalink
    May 25, 2011

    I like your vision about the connection between man and nature.
    And you people doing really fantastic work for our future.
    Thank You !!

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