Electronics vs Nature

By Lina Younes

Recently, I went camping with my youngest daughter’s Girl Scouts troop. We went to a camping ground in Maryland. Contrary to nearby Camp Schmidt that has cabins with bunk beds, our camping site was in a wooded area where we had to pitch our own tents.

My daughter was very excited to go on her very first camping trip.  The excitement started during the packing process.  What did we need to take for the trip? These were some of the important issues we needed to address as we got ready. Since we knew that we would be out in tents, a sleeping bag was the first order of business. She was well aware that she needed a flashlight, basic toiletries, etc. Then, she wanted to pack all these portable electronic gadgets and that is where I drew the line. “What if I can’t fall asleep at night? What am I going to do?” It was interesting to see that she hadn’t even thought of the notion of just taking in all the sights and sounds of the night without any electronic gadgets. Are our children so disconnected from nature that they cannot even think of enjoying natural surroundings without a hand-held device?

We were very fortunate to have great weather.  A little brisk in the evening, but it was nice. The camping trip was a great success. The girls had a lot of fun exploring the area, sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and the like. Some of the girls were slightly apprehensive of the thought that we might encounter some scary wildlife in the woods at night.  They were expecting to see some bears or wolves.  The scariest creatures we saw were a few birds, frogs, and plenty of daddy long legs.

When we woke up early morning, some of the girls were surprised to discover the moisture out of the tent. “Why is the ground wet if it didn’t rain?” “Morning dew, honey.”  That was a great opportunity to teach the children about the natural environment. Now, I’m not sure who is more excited about the next camping trip–my daughter or me.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as the Multilingual Communications Liaison. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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