National Wildlife Federation Announces 2012 Hike & Seek Program
Our family loves hiking. Though there are some outdoor activities that don’t always make the top of my list, such skiing or horseback riding, hiking, swimming, snowshoeing, bike riding – just to name a few – makes being outdoors fun for me and I am happy that it is something my family loves as well because it makes it easy for us to just pick up and go outside, have a great time, and not have to spend tons of cash in the process.
That’s why I’m excited about that National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF), which by the way is also America’s largest conservation organization, announcing the third annual Hike & Seek™ program.
Hike & Seek is a series of fundraising events that inspires a child’s sense of adventure by combining a nature hike and scavenger hunt. It brings children and adults together for a few hours in the great outdoors for some fresh fall air and fun and provides an opportunity to rediscover nature.
It’s a fun way to get out with your family and doesn’t require advance preparation; just sign up at www.hikeandseek.org and then show up ready for a great nature experience.
The one to two mile go-at-your-own-pace hike has interactive “Stop & Study” stations with engaging learning activities including nature crafts, live wildlife displays, and much more. Every participant is given a Map & Mission Guidebook to direct their path and will receive an Honorary Junior Naturalist badge at the end of the hike.
The events are being held:
September 29, 2012 (12 p.m. – 3 p.m.): Bemis Woods South in Western Springs, IL
September 29, 2012 (9 a.m. – noon): South Platte Park in Littleton, CO
October 13, 2012 (9 a.m. – noon): Seward Park in Seattle, WA
October 13, 2012 (9 a.m. – noon): NJ Audubon Scherman-Hoffman Center in Bernardsville, NJ
October 20, 2012 (9 a.m. – noon): Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, MD
October 27, 2012 (9 a.m. – noon): Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA
Hike & Seek is part of NWF’s Be Out There movement to get kids outdoors where they can connect with nature, run and play, and just be kids. Pretty cool, right?
It’s such an important effort we must make as a family because with so much technology (which we all love, I will admit), it becomes harder and harder to get out and play. But here are some facts about outdoor time and children to help encourage you to get out there:
• Children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago.
• Today, kids 8-18 years old devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media in a typical day (more than 53 hours a week).
• In a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own.
• Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration.
• Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health.
• The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11.
I appreciate the fact that because of these trends the NWF is putting an increased focus on finding new ways to connect children with nature. NWF is committed to reversing this trend and encouraging 10 million more kids to get a healthy dose of outdoor fun.
I hope you will take advantage of these upcoming events in your area and get out with your family this Fall. For more information please check out the NWF’s website for ideas, upcoming events and more at www.beoutthere.org.
*For sources on Fast Facts check out http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Be-Out-There/Why-Be-Out-There.aspx