This March, get active outdoors
What: Hiking trails, climbing trees and rocks, and even chasing butterflies help kids get exercise while stimulating their natural curiosity. Having fun outdoors can also help kids develop a love of nature, making for a greener future. As the weather begins to warm up, encourage kids to get out of hibernation mode and explore the world around them during National Wildlife Week, celebrated March 13-20.
Background: The National Wildlife Federation founded National Wildlife Week in 1938 to educate Americans on the importance of conserving and enjoying America’s natural places, plants and animals. The outdoors was once a natural habitat for kids, but today’s youth have plenty of electronic entertainment, and few spend time exploring their own backyard.National Wildlife Week encourages kids to go outside and discover what they love about nature, whether it’s getting dirty climbing trees, watching wild animals, or just enjoying the warm sunlight and fresh air.
Story Pitch: Exploring the outdoors is great for kids in lots of ways, and many groups can use National Wildlife Week to promote their cause. Health organizations can encourage kids to get exercise through outdoor activities like hiking and swimming, and they can also educate parents on how to keep kids safe. Local parks and conservation organizations can hold events to show kids how native plants and animals are important to the area, and talk about why it’s important for kids to be part of conservation efforts. Learning and educational groups can share how parents and teachers are able to use nature walks and outdoor trips to help educate kids and show the natural sciences in action.
Story Hook: For good health, it’s recommended that children complete at least an hour of physical activity each day, but only about a quarter of American boys and even fewer girls hit the mark. While TV and computers are keeping kids indoors more than seven hours a day, modern technologies like digital cameras are great to use outside and can inspire kids to get active exploring nature. What outdoor activities are fun for tech-savvy kids? What skills do kids need to help them safely and comfortably keep active outdoors? Consider the following as you make your pitch:
- How can city kids explore the outdoors? Where can you find nature in developed areas?
- What are fun outdoor activities for families?
- How can kids help conserve local spaces? What environmental issues are affecting local wildlife?
- What supervised programs help children develop an understanding and appreciation of nature?
Tips: Provide contact information for a local park ranger with experience leading outdoor activities for children who can talk about how kids of different ages can enjoy nature. A young person who volunteers for an environmental cause is a good contact as well.
Boy Scouts of America
Girl Scouts of the USA
National Park Service
National Wildlife Federation
– National Wildlife Week
–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
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