This appeared today … thank you John! Click here to view it in all its pdf glory on page 4. (pdf version of MetroParks ParkScope.)
From the Executive Director
Leave no child inside
In the not so distant past kids tromped through the woods, played in parks, chased after butterflies
and fished in nearby streams. Today, because of television and the rise of the computer
age, many of our children have no experience with the out-of-doors.
Author Richard Louv in his bestselling book, The Last Child in the Woods talks about a
nature deficit disorder and its disastrous implications for kids’ physical fitness, as well as their
long-term mental and spiritual health when they become increasingly alienated from the natural
world. Obesity, childhood diabetes, attention deficit disorder and other afflictions are becoming
more common as kids are discouraged from playing outside and become addicted to electronics.
If you care about the natural world, you shouldn’t sit by and watch as your children, grandchildren
and neighbor’s kids lose touch with the real world while being drawn into fantasy electronic
games and mind-numbing television programs. Children who don’t learn to enjoy, appreciate and
even love the natural world can’t be expected to care about Earth’s environment when they
become adults. The immediate impact on our children and the long-term impact on our planet
are both unacceptable consequences of ignoring this growing problem.
What can we do? Take your children to a Metro Park or the zoo. Show them that there are crayfish
living in the stream, teach them to skip stones and let them build a fort in the woods. If you
are a teacher, assign each child to play outside for at least a half hour every day. If you are a doctor,
prescribe outdoor play to help prevent diabetes and other illnesses. Let your neighbor kids play
on your lawn. What’s more important’”healthy kids or the greenest lawn? Make a snowman, go
sled riding, teach a kid to canoe and send a kid in your neighborhood to camp. Limit TV and
computers to one hour per day. The list is endless.
Don’t let nature deficit disorder ruin your life or the life of a child you love. No child should
be left inside. There’s a wonderful world to explore. Visit kidsandnature.org, a place for those
in Columbus and Central Ohio interested in the Leave No Child Inside movement.
To encourage more kids to play in the parks, Metro Parks will open natural play areas at
Battelle Darby Creek, Highbanks, Prairie Oaks, Sharon Woods and Three Creeks this spring.
You and your kids can experience the wonders of nature as you wander off-trail to jump in a pile
of leaves, skip stones in a creek or play a game of tag. Look for signs at the park.