I had scrambled eggs, hash browns, and sausage for breakfast this morning. I never do that. I am now nursing a stomach ache! Maybe I should have gone with something greener.
And… there is my blog topic! The need for Green!
Did you know that California has a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights? It states that every child has a right to play in a safe place, explore nature, learn to swim, go fishing, follow a trail, ride a bike, go boating, connect with the past, plant a seed, and – my favorite – camp under the stars.
It deeply saddens me when I hear from children that they have never played at the beach or hiked a mountain. The mountains and beaches are free, close, and life-changing. Nature is a fabulous classroom. There is no better way to teach geology than on a trail, and the best place to teach transcendentalism is at Walden Pond.
Richard Louv, the brilliant author of the national bestseller, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” says,“Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”
For the 2018-19 school year, there are 259 top private schools in Los Angeles, California, serving 44,536 students. The average private school tuition is $11,791 for elementary schools and $22,542 for high schools. I researched the best known (and most costly) top 30. 100% of them have an outdoor education program. Most offer each grade at least one multi-day National Park experience. Why do wealthy kids get the right to sleep under the stars, but not all kids?
We can, and must, do better. Elite rock climbing, skiing, ultralight trekking, and cycling are expensive. I get it. But, a walk through a tide pool, trail hike, swim in a local creek, or sleeping out under the stars is not. I also get the transportation cost concern. We cannot make excuses. Here are six foundations that fund student field trips.
The data supports the common knowledge. Researchers Faber, Taylor, and Kuo found that the effect of walking in a park on concentration helped close the gap between children with ADHD and those without ADHD with regard to the concentration measure used and that the effect was similar to that of two common types of ADHD medication.
Every adult who has experienced the backcountry understands the importance of nature’s classroom.
It is critical that we advocate for those students (and some adults) who have not exercised their right to play in a safe place, explore nature, learn to swim, go fishing, follow a trail, ride a bike, go boating, connect with the past, plant a seed, and – my favorite – camp under the stars!
My breakfast is in the first line of this blog. Next time a nice green smoothie!