Cross “sprint triathlon” off your 2014 list in Wilmington, Take a Child Outside at a state park, celebrate hunting and fishing with the family in the mountains: it’s another diverse weekend outdoors in North Carolina.
A triathlon isn’t something you’d ordinarily do on a lark, certainly not an Olympic length (0.9-mile swim, 25-mile bike and 6.2-mile run) or longer. A sprint tri, on the other hand … .read more
“They draw pictures of bears and lions and all these really big animals,” says Weems, the center’s senior manager of early childhood programs. At the end of the program, when she asks them to draw a picture of what they actually did see at this 45-acre natural oasis in the heart of Raleigh, she gets sketches of tadpoles, frogs, crickets, ladybugs … .
“The reality is it’s really much more fun to get close to a lady bug,” says Weems, who has been in the business of exposing kids to the outdoors for 30 years.
The reality is also that today more than ever, too many kids like the ones viewing Prairie Ridge as a wild jungle have only a vague notion of what’s going on outside their living room windows.
That’s why in 2006, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Director of Education Liz Baird deemed it necessary to create Take A Child Outside Week, seven days at the end of September dedicated to introducing our increasingly insulated youth to the great outdoors. Take A Child Outside Week 2013 begins Tuesday and runs through Monday, Sept. 30. At least 82 Take A Child Outside-related programs are scheduled throughout the state. (To find an event close to you, check our calendar, here.)
“The average child spends seven hours a day in front of a screen,” says Baird, “with no logged time outdoors. Obviously, we still need to remind parents to get their children outside.”
Take a Child Outside Week was spurred by Richard Louv’s 2005 bestseller, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” an account of how, in less than a generation, our kids have gone from being weaned in the wild to garrisoned in the great room.
To anyone who came of age pre-1980, the notion of having to be reminded to go outside and play would have seemed crazy; outside — in a local forest, along a nearby creek, in a neighborhood park — was where kids went to escape. But as Louv notes, a proliferation of electronic options and increasingly protective parents have conspired to keep our kids inside.
Some disturbing numbers:read more
Explore the largest overwintering population of waterfowl along the East Coast at Lake Mattamuskeet, learn who your winter hiking companions are, or hike the Celo community. It’s all possible this weekend in North Carolina.
This one is well worth the price considering its a waning chance to sit in on a nature program led by one of the state’s premier naturalists. Friday and Saturday, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences sponsors “Lake Mattamuskeet Adventure,” a chance to explore Lake Mattamuskeet and the neighboring Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, which together represent one of the largest overwintering sites for waterfowl on the East Coast. Spend day both days — 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. — learning to identify the various waterfowl, raptors and other birds that spend the season here.read more
We now have a month dedicated to the childhood obesity epidemic. And the observance comes none-too-soon, considering it appears our kids may be even bigger than we realized.
As Take A Child Outside Week draws to a close and as we segue into National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month comes the disturbing news that the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic may be even worse than the numbers suggest. First, to recap those numbers: Nearly 20 percent (19.6) of the nation’s kids ages 6-11 were considered obese in 2008 (up from 6.5 percent in 1980), while 18.1 percent of 12- to 19-year-olds were obese in 2008, up from just 5 percent in 1980; In North Carolina, more than a third of our kids are either obese or overweight.read more