According to The Conservation Fund website,
“You can learn more about the relationship between American youth and nature in America's Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations.” Released in early 2011, the report is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative, which aims to reconnect Americans to nature. A separate Youth Report was produced based on responses gathered during 21 "youth listening sessions." In these sessions young people voiced a strong desire to spend more time outdoors and talked about challenges that made outdoor recreation difficult or inaccessible to them”
Recently I led groups of second and fifth graders on a hike around the lake at our local state park. I was so surprised to see that most of them had never been to this state park and it is right in our own county. Many of our state parks are such a great resource for families and schools!
There are also heritage preserves around out county that I didn’t even know about. I am amazed at the protected areas around me that have wonderful flowers and wildlife to observe.
I remember as a small child having my mother teach me to garden in our back yard. The elderly neighbors even took me to hunt mushrooms. I never learned that skill well enough to pick mushrooms for my own meal but I admire those who are willing to do that.
I love to sit in my own back yard and watch the birds. On my back deck, I have one of those faux clay flower pots (made of Styrofoam) that I have filled with water and include a water lily plus a gold fish. The birds in the area use this for their own private bird bath and it is fascinating to watch them.
Around my yard are several bird feeders that entice the birds to visit. I even found a bird’s nest in my rose bush the other day.
Nature is all around us and we need to open our eyes and ears to experience it!
Original picture by Pat Hensley