We've all heard about the No Child Left Inside initiatives launched around the country in recent years by parents, educators and health professionals worried about what's been termed "nature deficit disorder" and its links to the epidemic of childhood obesity.
The implication is that we need to get our children outside and away from screens — computer, smartphone, television and other types — but a lot of us aren't sure why or how to do it. So we sought out people in Southern Oregon who spend their time educating people about the outdoors and asked them for some tips.
The heart of it is that you don't need a lot of equipment and planning. Just "get outside" and watch how nature has a way of giving kids millions of ideas for playful and educational things to do.
Convinced of the importance of raising nature-loving kids, a group of parents at Talent Elementary school asked the school board there to set up an Outdoor Discovery School that would provide all the academics but spend lots of time outside — romping, playing, going to parks and nature centers, hiking trails and going on field trips to the coast and wildlife sanctuaries of Eastern Oregon.