No Child Left Inside!

NWACC - Trail Tech

I just recently participated in a round table discussion with Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, along with representatives from several state and national agencies. Our goal was to bring state departments of Education, Game & Fish, Health and State Parks together with the local Audubon society to come up with ways to get kids outdoors more.

I had been thinking about reading Mr. Louv’s book for the last year or so and the prospect of meeting him pushed me to get it done. I highly recommend it! It’s a great eye opener to not only the plight of children but of our very society. The irony of our actions in the name of protecting children amazes me. Louv talked of a school system that has “No Running” signs on the school playgrounds. He asks, “Are these same schools sending home reports on childhood obesity?” New subdivisions with covenant restrictions that don’t allow kids to use sidewalk chalk or build forts and tree houses in their backyards. Louv states, “We have made it illegal for kids to play outside.”

The Community Bicyclist

The author also points out that while the last couple of decades has seen the largest percentage increase in organized sports for children, the same period has also seen the largest increase in childhood obesity. That said, physical health is not the only reason to expereince the outdoors. Being in nature, exploring the creek down the street, climbing a tree or just laying in a field watching the clouds is important for our mental health.

I could go on and on about the points he brought up but I’ll leave that to the reader. Hopefully some of the agencies (including my own) can come up with some plans to help with allowing and encouraging our children to have the same outdoor experiences that we all remember as kids.

Gudrun Mountain Bike Festival

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