Take a Child Outside Week (September 24-30)
Take A Child Outside Week is a program designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from discovering the natural world. By arming parents, teachers and other caregivers with resources on outdoor activities, our goal is to help children across the country develop a better understanding and appreciation of the environment in which they live, and a burgeoning enthusiasm for its exploration.
Catawba Riverkeeper is a big believer in the importance of getting youth out into the natural world, which is why we have our summer youth kayaking program, family-friendly cleanup events, family eco-tours and periodic family paddling trips. In addition to the health and other benefits, getting children outdoors assures that the next generation will care as much about caring for the environment as we do.
CRF's upcoming child and youth-friendly events include:
Catawba Riverkeeper staff and volunteers also speak to school groups and youth organizations, as well as taking school groups and youth organizations for creek walks and water sampling trips. Finally, CRF partners with Olympic High School to offer a program that gets local high students out in the field to montor water quality. Our website has additional information about local places to take your family paddling or go hiking to see some of the beautiful waterfalls in the Catawba basin.
For more information and ideas:
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences – coordinator and sponsor of the Take a Child Outside initiative.
- Children & Nature Network – National organization dedicated to connecting children with nature, co-founded by Richard Louv.
- NC Children and Nature Coalition – has been leading the effort for the NC Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights
- Saving Kids from ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ – podcast of NPR’s Morning Edition featuring Richard Louv. The interview with Louv starts 7 minutes into the podcast.
- National Wildlife Federation Green Hour – Discovery Journal, Activities and Blog encouraging unstructured outdoor play time for kids.
Don’t have a kid to take Outdoors? Consider supporting this:
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s fundraising projects that impact Low-income urban youth. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina recognizes the impact these projects have on the health of Charlotte’s youth and has granted over $7,500 to match every dollar we raise. There are two projects to choose from and they both need some serious help.
Mecklenburg County's Environmental Education Scholarship Fund titled “Can We have Class Outside?” This scholarship fund impacts over 330 at-risk urban youth across 4 different Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Outdoor science education is used to improve learning and classroom dynamics. Studies have shown that students who attend programs similar to this have significant gains in several social categories including relationships to peers as well as with teachers. The same studies have shown that students increase performance in science by almost 30% as a result of hands on Environmental Education.
The second project is the After School Outdoor Club Scholarship titled “Can We play Outside?” This project won a 2012 Innovative Program award from the National association of County Organizations for its strategic use of resources to aid the citizens of Mecklenburg County. The project has expanded yet again and stretches over 7 different urban recreation facilities across the city of Charlotte and provides active outdoor programming for children who attend zero cost after school care.
If you have questions about these projects go to http://power2give.org/charlotte/Project/SearchProjects?orgId=240 or contact Anthony Shaheen, Outdoor Recreation Specialist, McDowell Nature Center.