April 19: The Importance of Connecting the Next Generation to Nature

–submitted by Janet Piraino

Betsy Parker and Virginia Wiggen talked to Rotarians on April 19th about how incredibly important it is to establish a connection between kids and nature.  Kids between 3 and 14 years old today spend an average of 7.5 hours in front of a phone or computer screen, and less than 1 hour a day outside. They stressed that access to the natural environment is as important to physical and emotional wellbeing as health care and economics. 

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center is an important part of the answer.  The Center provides Nature Preschool for 3 to 5-year-olds, an outdoor afterschool program for K-5 kids, and summer camp for kids aged 4 to 10. They also have a Junior Naturalist Program for teens. Not only is this important for kids of all ages, their programs have shown to provide rapid improvement for kids on the autism spectrum. The Center, which is right off the Beltline in Monona, is open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.  They encouraged Rotarians to check out their hiking trails!

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/2F7xZyVV_tI.

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