NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Child Left on the Indoor Wood Couch

There is a wealth of programs and ideas - Last Child in the Woods, No Child Left Indoors, No Child Left on the Couch - aimed at inspiring today’s youth to get off the couch, away from video games, and into nature – and for good reason. Today’s average child spends 44 hours per week staring at some kind of electronic screen. These same children are less fit and have less stamina then children of past generations. Obesity is an enormous problem among Americans, including children. The rate of obesity in children aged 6 to 11 has more than doubled in the past 20 years, to 17 percent. For ages 12 to 19 the rate of clinical obesity has more than tripled to 17.6 percent. These statistics are from a 2009 National Wildlife Federation publication, Time Out: Using the Outdoors to Enhance Classroom Performance.

Exploring nature with NOS at the
Black Rock Rendezvous Kids Camp

Now let’s take a look at the numerous benefits of being outdoors. Children who play outside are more creative; they explore nature and use their imagination to come up with games and role-plays rather than let technology do the “work” for them. Being outdoors allows children to be more physically active, enhances their ability to learn and retain knowledge. In a nutshell, free play outdoors improves children’s mental and physical health.

Another added bonus is that spending time outdoors helps children develop conservation ethics. I grew up four-wheeling across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, swimming in alpine lakes, and climbing on granite boulders. These experiences shaped who I am today and sparked my passion for enjoying and conserving the great outdoors. Everyone needs that connection to nature for personal benefits and for Mother Nature’s benefits.

Here are a few ideas to help get you and your family off the couch and into the great outdoors:
  • Nevada Outdoor School – For those of you in northern Nevada, come explore nature with us during our exciting summer camps and programs.
  • REI’s Family Adventure Program – Start by downloading their free Kid’s Adventure Journal full of outdoor games and activities.
  • Children & Nature Network – Working to reconnect children with nature, look here to find a nature event near you or find a group to get involved with.
  • Be Out There – Lots of activities for your child’s Green Hour.
  • Visit Your Local Recreation Area – A lot of recreation areas have youth programs. For example, your child can become a Junior Ranger with a National Park.

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