Published: Dec 04, 2012 07:08 PM
Modified: Dec 04, 2012 07:16 PM
Do you remember when you were a child, and you spent hours in the backyard playing with your toys and watching a line of ants walk by with pieces of leaves bigger than their bodies?
I remember looking forward to fall every year, as I watched in awe through the weeks of changing colors – and then helping my parents rake the leaves into a big pile so I could jump smack dab in the middle.
When was the last time you or your children watched a line of ants or looked forward to raking leaves? More importantly, when was the last time you or your children took time to go outside and play?
In this age of technology, most of us spend our work time in front of a computer and using our smartphones to keep us in the loop with family and friends.
The kids all have iPads, HDTV, and countless video game systems to keep them occupied. The only time spent outside is walking back and forth to our cars.
Ten or fifteen years ago, I would drive through my neighborhood and see kids playing in the yard or out in the street playing a game. These days, I drive through my neighborhood and don’t see anyone out in their yard, except the occasional neighbor walking their dog.
Our lost connection to the outdoors and nature has had a negative impact on our health.
Obesity in children is at an all-time high. Our culture has seen an increase in diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other health problems.
Recent research links children’s and our physical and mental health – as well as cognitive functioning and creativity – directly to time spent outdoors and connecting to nature (“Last Child in the Woods,” Richard Louv, 2008).
Piedmont Wildlife Center works to reconnect people and nature through children’s day camps, weekend classes for children and adults, after-school programs, birthday parties, field trips, citizen science and other conservation projects, as well as our wildlife hotline that answers citizen’s wildlife questions and refers citizens with injured wildlife to local caregivers.
Through our educational programs, we give children time to play outdoors and, at the same time, teach them skills to reawaken their curiosity and sense of adventure, and help them reconnect to nature and the wild creatures in which we share our environment.
Reconnect yourself and your children to nature through one of our programs this fall.
A few of the children’s programs include: The World of Camouflage, Winter Helpers and Whoooo’s Out There?, as well as our holiday camps December 21-January 4th.
Adult programs include: Introduction to the Art of Tracking, Owl Prowl, Archery Club, Winter Tree Identification and many more.
Thanks to everyone who attended our 10th annual Celebrate Wildlife Benefit Gala and Auction on Nov. 17. Guests listened to live music from three local bands, ate gourmet food donated by local restaurants, enjoyed some local beer and wine, bid on over 200 silent auction items, and supported our mission to connect people and nature.
To see what you missed or find out more about our programs, conservation efforts or volunteer opportunities go to piedmontwildlifecenter.org
Gail Abrams is the executive director of the Piedmont Wildlife Center.