For someone who loves birds, wildlife, travel, or just spending time outdoors, it might be hard to imagine a life without enjoying the splendors of nature. Our lives would seem void without the calming sound of a creek. We can’t imagine not enjoying the colorful flight of a bird, or the intoxicating scent of pine trees on a spring day. For most of us, a life without regular immersion into the natural world would be empty, disheartening, tragic even.
Children and the Outdoors
Unfortunately, too many kids growing up today are missing out on wild things and wild places. They don’t see them not as a thing of beauty or a source of joy. Instead many of our children view nature as something foreign, as something scary. Or perhaps worst of all, as something uninteresting. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone, considering the advances in technology and the rise of texting, facebooking, video games and the like, that many children would rather spend their time on a computer than on a hike.
What might come as a surprise, however, is that this lack of time in nature could have serious repercussions for the mental and physical well-being of our youth, our nations, and the future health of our natural world. In Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder the author explores the reasons why children are spending less time in nature and how the rises in childhood obesity, depression, and attention-deficit disorder may all be linked to this disconnect with the natural world.
Last Child in the Woods
Parents, educators, or anyone interested in the conservation of our wild places will find this book informative, a bit scary, but also hopeful. Louv offers many solutions as to how to get children back into nature, many of which can be accomplished right in our own back yards. Perhaps this book will even inspire you to share your love of birding or nature with a child in your life. Louv makes a very compelling argument that their future well being, and ours, could depend on it.
Whitehawk’s Jr. Naturalist Program
Whitehawk believes in getting children out in nature as much as possible. To achieve this, we have been working with public and private schools in Panama for more than 5 years. Through our Jr. Naturalist Program, we bring students to the forests of Panama to search for birds and other wildlife. We teach bird identification and nature sketching, and allow them to simply spend time in the outdoors – observing, listening and learning.