Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kids in Nature

I love bringing my kids outdoors. One of the best trips you can make with small kids is to go to Cold Canyon, find a path to the creek, and just let them spend a few hours splashing in the water and climbing rocks. In fact, on the main page of Yolohiker you'll see a link to a series of hikes at Cold Canyon, sponsored by UC Davis. Several are for parents and kids. Check it out!

Also, bring your kids on some of the Capay Valley Hiking Club hikes.

Last month a Cornell University study reported that childhood wild-nature play -- unstructured time in nature like camping, hiking and playing in the woods -- has a profound influence on environmental attitudes and actions later in life.

But most kids these days are brought up in over-manicured suburbs with an abundance of electronic playthings and an ever diminishing exposure to nature.

According to Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods," they are suffering from "nature deficit disorder." In his book, Louv describes a cycle of alienation: Kids who don't go out into nature aren't familiar enough with nature to want to go into nature and don't feel comfortable when they're there. And that's bad news for their future capacity to steward the environment.

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