I was reading our little weekly newspaper, when an article caught my eye. It was titled..Nature Notes: Nature-Deficit Disorder. It was written by Dr. Clifford E. Knapp, who is retired from NIU's Lorado Taft Field Campus. He tells about children today not getting outdoors enough and they are getting separated from nature. Kids and their parents are attached to electronic umbilical cords (his description) TV, computers, video games, and DVD and CD players. I see Moms walking by with their babies in strollers...a phone in their ear. Moms used to talk and point out things in nature along the way. People in restaurants, grocery stores, in cars all talking on the phone and not seeing the world around them. I know that not everyone is like this, but there are so many who are. Between 1997 and 2003, he states, a 50% decline in kids use for the outdoors. More obesity and Type 2 diabetes, ADHD. Kids don't walk to school or ride their bikes as much. Schools have cut down their recess periods. He goes on about kids knowing more Pokemon characters than common plant and animal names. He tells about the changes in society...fear of letting kids having freedoms, that we used to have, because of stranger danger. There are fewer farms today, building developments are taking over precious natural places. Some communities have no where for kids to go and learn about nature.
I remember when I was growing up...my Mom would say, "Go on outside and play." I did the same with my kids. It was great staying outside most of the day, in the summer. Building forts, exploring fields, finding critters, collecting bugs in jars, playing games...who remembers playing Holly at night by the street lights? Kids need to explore and have someone teach them about birds, rocks, wildflowers. The park district in a neighboring town will have classes and free discovery walks for kids this spring and fall. Our nature center up the road does the same. I hope that other towns will do the same. I do feel sorry for the kids in the big cities who don't have experiences in nature. It's our world...we should see to it that every child is given the same chance.
Our illustrious Governor closed our State Parks in Ogle county. Now that he's gone they are to be reopened. This is a big plus for our area. Lowden State Park is a wonderful place for kids and adults to explore. I hope that now that we've had the scare of losing it, more people will use it this year than ever before.