No Child Left Inside

How often do kids spend time outdoors in unstructured play? Not too often nowadays. If you think your kids are getting that outdoor time at school, you might be surprised to find out that schools are cutting back on recess and P.E., or eliminating them all together. You might remember spending your childhood outdoors building tree houses and setting up bike jumps, while your own children simulate bike jumps inside a video game.

“The children and nature movement is fueled by this fundamental idea: the child in nature is an endangered species, and the health of children and the health of Earth are inseparable.” – Richard Louv, “Last Child in the Woods”

Only 7 minutes?

Kids are spending over 7 hours per day plugged into media- watching TV, texting, video gaming- and only 7 minutes per day outside enjoying unstructured play! My grandfather’s generation roamed 6 miles from home unaccompanied where he explored trails and climbed trees. My daughter’s generation roams an average of only 300 yards from home.

In a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own. There are some scary outcomes from this “indoor child” epidemic, including childhood obesity and an increase in ADHD diagnoses.

Double Dose of Childhood Obesity

Over the past 20 years, the time children spend outside has been cut in half. During this same time, childhood obesity has doubled and adolescent obesity has tripled. Health issues related to obesity are on the rise. For the first time in our nation’s history, our children’s generation may have a shorter life expectancy than our generation.

Be Out There

So how do we save our children from “nature-deficit” disorder? We get kids outside! National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There campaign is working toward that goal. Some say it takes a village to raise a child. We say it takes a backyard, a playground, a park. Spend a Green Hour® outside with your kids or volunteer in your community to support outdoor play. The Chesapeake Mid-Atlantic Regional Center in Annapolis, Maryland is hosting a series of Be Out There events to support NWF’s mission to re-connect families with nature.    

Do you want to learn how to protect wildlife habitat and connect children to nature?  Are you looking to be a more active volunteer in your local community?  From sharing videos and pictures of your own backyard habitat to helping neighbors and schools learn how to garden for wildlife, you can help us develop and expand our Be Out There programs from your own home, in your own backyard, at your neighborhood schools, and in your community.

Session I: Be Out ThereMaking a Difference

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

5 p.m. Light Refreshments

5:30-6:30 p.m. Educational Program

National Wildlife Federation’s

Chesapeake Mid-Atlantic Regional Center

706 Giddings Ave., Suite 2B Annapolis, MD

An RSVP is not required but if you email verifying your attendance by Friday, March 11th we’ll enter you for a chance to win a FREE one year subscription to NWF’s award-winning Ranger Rick magazine!