Try something new for Children & Nature Awareness Month
Fish Busters' Bulletin
Friday, April 01, 2011
Media contact: Bob Wattendorf
Children and nature. It doesn't get more wholesome and natural
than that. So, why all the fuss and need to designate April as
"Children & Nature Awareness Month"?
The unfortunate facts are that Americans are becoming more
tethered to electronic screens, joysticks and keypads than they are
to the panoramic view, sights and sounds of unbridled nature, or
the feel of a fishing rod in their hands and fresh soil beneath
their feet. According to the Keiser Family Foundation, the amount
of screen time increases with age, and schoolchildren are already
spending 7.5 hours a day on electronic media!
Research published by the American Heart Association reported
that people who watched four hours or more of TV per day were
80-percent more likely to die from heart disease and 46-percent
more likely to die from any cause, based on a six-year study that
involved 8,800 adults with no history of heart conditions.
The amazing thing was that intense physical activity did not
necessarily offset the sedentary time spent sitting around. This is
one reason scientists think the current generation of youths may be
the first in history to have a shorter lifespan than their parents'
Moreover, youths may suffer from attention deficit disorder,
depression and low school grades due to lessened work productivity
because of this trend. Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the
Woods," called it "nature deficit disorder."
There is good news, though. The cure is simple: Children and
adults should get outdoors and enjoy free "playtime" in nature.
The great news is that active, nature-based recreation is fun,
inexpensive and widely available year-round throughout Florida.
I am the chairman of the Get Outdoors Florida! Coalition that
seeks to connect youth to the outdoors through active, nature-based
recreation to help them lead happier, healthier and smarter
lifestyles and to become better resource stewards. Imagine my
pride when my grandson, Luke, said recently that it was so much
more fun to be outdoors that watching TV reruns or playing
interactive video games that quickly become boring.
This April, find a way to connect with a child or two you care
about and enhance their prospects for a happier, healthier and
smarter future by getting them outdoors. A variety of events will
be taking place around the state and country, giving many people
the chance to find something fun to do outdoors with children.
Children & Nature Awareness Month is all about that.
One special opportunity, if fishing is your thing, is the Free
Freshwater Fishing Weekend on April 2-3, during which you can fish
in any open public freshwater fishing body throughout Florida,
without purchasing a license (all other rules apply). The Outdoor
Foundation considers fishing one of the key gateway activities to
other forms of outdoor recreation.
This April consider becoming an Anglers' Legacy Ambassador.
Anglers' Legacy is simply about making a promise to introduce
somebody new to fishing. There is no membership fee and no
obligation. Visit AnglersLegacy.org and complete the pledge,
entering FLFWC as the partner code.
Check out these websites for places to go, things to do, and
information about the benefits of getting outdoors.