Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Video

Merry Christmas.

Here's a cool video to watch.

Children and Nature: Awakening a Sense of Wonder
Narrated by Peter Coyote Music by Paul Lloyd Warner Dr. Jane Goodall believes it is essential that parents and other mentors of children guide them to make meaningful connections with the natural world. To help accomplish this, she has initiated a program called Roots and Shoots, now in 29 countries. Joining her in expressing the importance of enabling children to form a close relationship with nature are Dr. Sylvia Earle, world-renowned marine biologist, Lee Cole, naturalist and children̢۪s guide at Hidden Villa Farm and Wilderness Preserve in California, and Jeff Rutherford, director of the Marine Research Institute, a ship and shore program for children on San Francisco Bay.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Outdoor Biz

Saw this interview with REI head Sally Jewell posted at Children and Nature Network. Worth reading if you haven't already.

Merry Christmas. Posts may be sporadic for several days as we celebrate the holiday and get up on the slopes.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Future Challenges

Friedman gives a good look at the what the next generation will be dealing with.
The world is rightly focused on climate change. But if we don’t have a strategy for reducing global carbon emissions and preserving biodiversity, we could end up in a very bad place, like in a crazy rush into corn ethanol, and palm oil for biodiesel, without enough regard for their impact on the natural world.

“If we don’t plan well, we could find ourselves with a healthy climate on a dead planet,” said Glenn Prickett, senior vice president of Conservation International.

The mantra is: if the next generation is not engaged in nature, we lose everything...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Photo Contest

The Arizona Park and Recreation Association has a new photo contest. Take pictures of Kids in Nature and send them in.
Photos of nature and children enjoying outdoor environments are being sought for Arizona Parks and Recreation’s “Leave No Child Inside” photo contest. Start taking pictures today as entries must be postmarked by May 1, 2008!

The purpose of the “Leave No Child Inside” theme is to encourage parents to take their children to National, State, County and City parks to enjoy nature and recreate in Arizona’s natural areas. According to Richard Louv’s testimony to the Department of the Interior in February, “In just a few decades, the way children understand and experience their neighborhoods and the natural world has changed radically. Even as children become more aware of global threats to the environment, their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading.”

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Notes

The Headline for the Day
Canada's National Post has a great headline:
This season's hot new toy: fresh air
Read it here.

Spammed Blogs
I search out blog posts on our topics, and are coming across more of what I call Spam Blogs, where text is written, or maybe stolen, from other blogs, and then infiltrated with commercial links for things like car loans and home refinancing. I won't give any links for this, you'll know them when you see them. I won't say what I advocate doing to those who create these so called blogs.

FWS Video of the Week

is on children and nature, and is worth the watch. Check it out here.

Kids Binoculars
With Christmas upon us, here's a Nextag search page listing a bunch of binoculars for little kids and older ones.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ski Notes Thursday

I'm really looking forward to doing some skiing next week with friends and family. Unlike the dismal snow season last year, there has been good snowfall thus far up north, and plenty of cold temps for additional snowmaking. I haven't had the chance to ski with my daughter in a year, and she is assuring me that her huge leap in ability will challenge me. We'll see about that.

When I was a teen, we lived to ski. We would occasionally have Warren Miller Films screened at our school, usually sponsored by the High School Ski Club. As cornball as Miller can be, his films are always a celebration of the sport that few have matched. And they come from a simpler time, where we reveled over the smell of burning Ptex, the graphics on the new Rossis, and fresh dumps of snow that seem less prevalent as our climate changes.

Miller once said:
For years I have been telling people: “Any job that you have in the city you can get a job doing the same thing at a ski resort. All you have to do is quit your job, rent a trailer, load it up and move to the mountains.”

Of course, that kind of thing is much harder to pull off in these days of million dollar condos and the notorious Jackson Hole 7-7-7 homes (seven bedrooms, 7,000 square feet, seven million dollars). Warren is livin in the past, but so what.

Even with the "ski porn" available today, Miller is still up there in my mind, as his storytelling always beats the sometimes cliche "huckin" and "yeah dude" dialogues in the more up to date films. Nowadays, Miller's films are produced by his son, and I look forward to this year's entry.

Here's a blog post on New West that Warren wrote for the New West Snoblog.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Conservationists For Kids

New York has incredible natural resources, crowned by the amazing Adirondack Park, which is actually protected in the NY Constitution as "Forever Wild". The NY Department of Environmental Conservation is working to engage kids with its programs, and a good way to learn about them is to check out Conservationists For Kids.

The NY DEC folks have completely revamped the magazine and are sending copies to fourth graders statewide.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa Fights Obesity

In Scotland, a Santa is pulling the pillow out to fight childhood obesity.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Vitamin D

There was an interesting story on NPR's Morning Edition this AM that discussed the relationship between Vitamin D and brain function.

Listen to it here.

Seems from this layman's perspective, if this is true, then kids who spend their time indoors have less calcitrol (vitamin D) going to their brains, which may cause health issues. More research is certainly needed, so we'll see where this goes.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dispatch From Bali

Here's a post from itsgettinghotinhere.org on the Youth Statement given at the Bali Conference.


I am Anna Keenan from Australia, Karmila Parakkasi from Indonesia, and Whit Jones from the United States of America. We speak today as part of the global youth climate movement. Half the world’s population is under 30, and will live with the decisions you make today.


We cannot wait any longer. If you lead us on the wrong path, we have no time to find our way back and undo your decisions. The potential effects will be devastating and indiscriminant.

Youth around the world are rising to the challenge. As emerging leaders, we are mobilizing the public, building powerful movements, and forging international coalitions.

But all this won’t be enough without strong action from you. We have put our trust in you. We need a Bali Breakthrough — now.

Speaking of Ipods

Here's a link to a conference being held after the first of the year. Great title, important work.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Note

I wanted to expand on the short yesterday about the Ipod vending machines. My point in posting that was to declare that I felt nature was far better suited to relax us than an Ipod could. And that it was a good indicator of where our culture is when the media focuses on that type of story. While the Children (People) and Nature Movement is growing, it still is not getting the media attention it deserves.

With that said, I should come clean and say I do own an Ipod, have used one at an airport, and my friends know how much much music I have on my computer (you have no idea...) to feed that Ipod. Airports nowadays are pretty hellish places, and any distraction from the chaos is welcome.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Shorts

Go to Rich Louv for winning the Audubon Medal.

A San Diego colleague of Rich's writes about it.

Wired Culture
These have apparently been around for a year now, but I just heard of them. Ipod vending machines in airports. One report I read told of how Ipods had become "tranquilizers" for a crazy world, especially at a chaotic airport. I love music, but ugghh, I'll take a sunset and some crisp fall breezes any day over tunes at the airport. But this where this culture is...

Nordic Fun
I grew up cross country skiing and learned to really appreciate nordic areas. they would groom trails and have neat trail networks to make the whole day an adventure. Cheap too, the costs are far less than downhill areas. Viking Nordic Ski Center in Vermont was one place we would go to. Check it out. They have done much to make nordic skiing appealing to kids, which is a tough nut to crack when big downhill areas are nearby. They have gotten a couple of feet of snow up that way the past few weeks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

TPL Interviews Rich Louv

The trust For Public Lands Fall 2007 Magazine includes an interview with Rich Louv:
And no matter how good a job they are doing now, conservationists and environmentalists need to do more. They need to realize that the future of the environmental movement—indeed of the planet itself—may depend on this work. Studies show that people who care deeply about the future of the environment almost always enjoyed transcendent experiences in nature when they were children. If nature experiences for children continue to fade, where will future stewards of the earth come from?

Rich's interview was posted here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From Rural Virginia

Ward Burton, NASCAR driver and conservationist:
“This is what defines quality of life,” Burton said. “Our property, our farms and our heritage … this is the single greatest gift we can share with out future generations, our children.”
He said children are suffering from “nature-deficit disorder” because they are not connected with the outdoors.
“We have a responsibility to share our passion with the next generation,” he said. “Land is like a child - it must be nurtured; together, we can make a difference.”

Rural Virginia does not want to become another "urban center". More here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kids Post

Today's Washington Post's Kids Post has some interesting data:

Although not scientific, it's good news for nature, and kids.

They also have a feature on video games, read it if you want to know the "enemy". Too bad there's no feature on kids and nature...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Report From NH

John Corrigan reports in the Concord Monitor on the NH Leave No Child Indoors Forum.

Did the crowd reflect a new national movement, or simply the recognition by a lot of concerned people that young people are too sedentary and not getting outside nearly enough?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Daring Book

The Star Tribune writes about a companion book to the Dangerous Book for Boys.
When "Harriet the Spy" comes home from school, she straps on her tool belt and heads out alone into the wilds of Manhattan's Upper East Side, creeping down alleys and peering through skylights. Unlike the 1960s heroine of Louise Fitzhugh's classic novel, 21st-century girls come home from school, sit down and log on.

Authors Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz set out to combat this sedentary, computer-centered culture in "The Daring Book for Girls," a companion to last year's runaway bestseller from Britain...

Check it out.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Three Cheers

to the Fish and Wildlife Service for planning and presenting an employee workshop and training class at the National Conservation Training Center on reconnecting people to nature. One hundred people from the Service spent last week focused in on ways to help people reconnect.

FWS Director Dale Hall, who spoke at the course, said it all when he warned that if conservation professionals don't focus on the issue of nature deficit and find ways of reconnecting people to nature, all of the work that is being done to conserve our fish, wildlife and plants and habitats around the country will be in vain. In the future, a disconnected public will likely reject the very notion that nature is important for all of our lives.

Right on.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Outdoor Industry Foundation Action

Quick post today.

The Outdoor Industry Foundation Play It Forward Program has several cool initiatives to engage teens in outdoor activities.

The Teens Outside is really interesting:
Teens Outside™ makes the pivotal connection between mentors and youth over a sustained period of time and directly engages the outdoor business community to Get Youth Active in outdoor recreation.


The Wall Street Journal chimes in.

These latest reports on childhood obesity came from the New England Journal of Medicine. Here's a link to the first report and a link to the second.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

More Bad News on Childhood Obesity

Things are not getting better. The Kansas City Star Reports:
Two research studies published today link childhood and adolescent obesity to substantially greater risks of heart disease. That means in the years ahead, thousands more people may be suffering heart attacks or chronic chest pain, or dying before they reach their 50th birthday.


“The prospects if nothing is done are potentially catastrophic,” warned David Ludwig, director of the weight-management program at Children’s Hospital Boston and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, who did not participate in the studies. “The economic costs will be staggering.”

So now we have a public health issue, a conservation issue, and an economic issue. groups like those in the link list, and folks like Rich Louv are speaking out every day. What's it going to take for maybe one Presidential candidate to start talking about the issue of nature deficit? What's it going to take to really ignite this issue with the public? The fuel is all there.

More here.

Snowflake Bentley

We have family that lives in Jericho Center, Vermont, so we're familiar with the work of Wilson Bentley, also known as Snowflake Bentley. Bentley "captured" and photographed more than 5,000 snowflakes, each on unique. Like birding or catching frogs, checking out snowflakes is a great way to connect kids with nature, especially when school is cancelled.

The Bentley Website says:

From the earliest memories of our childhood, many of us can remember hearing the phrase "no two snowflakes are alike". This discovery was made in the small rural town of Jericho, Vermont by Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931).

Check out the Snowflake Bentley Site here. Lots of good info and links.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

First Snow Misc.

Driving overe the Blue Ridge last night I saw the lights on at Whitetail Ski Area and I knew that winter was coming. Then today we got the first snowstorm of the winter here in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Blue Ridge, one of those Alberta Clippers. Nothing like what hit New England a few days ago, but enough to close the schools and strain the limited number of snowplows in this neck of the woods.

We've had a link on the site for some time to the Greater Cincinnati’s Leave No Child Inside site. There's another site in Ohio-- Leave No Child INSIDE Central Ohio Collaborative, check it out here. Lots of good stuff coming from Ohio.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dirty Hands

The Center for Land-Based Learning's programs ensure kids come home with dirty hands. They also prepare kids to be the next generation of conservation leaders. Those are good things.
At the Center for Land-Based Learning, we believe that young people have the capacity to think critically, make positive decisions, work together and lead their communities. Our programs target high school students because:

* There are so few experience-based programs in agriculture and environmental sciences for this age group.
* The mid-teens are developmentally the appropriate time to instill skills that help students make positive, informed decisions about their futures.
* It's the right time to introduce students to the resources and practical information that encourages post-secondary studies related to environmental sustainability.

More here.

Monday, December 3, 2007


We dodged a weather bullet this weekend and now that the front has passed the wind is howling. In weather like this, the winds blow from the northwest, across the Allegheny Front, the long series of north south ridges whose eastern side rims the west edges of the Cumberland and Shenandoah Valleys. Further west in PA and WV lie some wild places, and rare habitats that go unknown to many. heck, they get as much snow in the Lots of opportunities to get out in those hills.

Matthew Craig is an artist and journalist based in Pittsburgh that has a number of projects, including a public television show and a radio show called The Allegheny Front. Some interesting interviews.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

and Scotland...

However, some experts believe this is a struggle that today's parents are losing. No matter how many organizScotlanded sports events or craft sessions urban children are ferried to in their parents' cars, the fact that these activities take place in a controlled and risk-free environment far away from the natural world of rivers, woods and wildlife is a cause for profound concern.

More here.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

From the Heartland

Another good editorial, this time from Kansas:

Do you have a memorable experience or place from childhood that shaped your view of the world, or perhaps yourself? Maybe it was time spent at a nearby woods or stream where you could play undisturbed for hours on end. And your parents probably didn't worry about you as long as your chores were done and you came home for supper.

Read it here.