So, I’ve not done much in the way of nature blogging lately. I’ve been too busy with summer activities and posting lots of pictures of grandpa’s paintings. I’ve got more to do, but most of what I have are now posted.
In any event, the topic of today’s blog is the Indiana Children and Nature Network (ICAN). This project was started by a wonderful lady from Indy – Sarah Kempfer – who noticed that children just don’t have free rein access to the outdoors much anymore.
She got a lot of info and guidance from a national group called the Children and Nature Network, hence the clever name of her project. The national network was started by Richard Louv, who wrote the famous book – “Last Child in the Woods”. Sarah and some others met with him and became highly motivated to figure out ways that children can get some outdoor time.
Studies show (studies show anything and everything), that kids spend an innordinate amount of time in front of electronic media. Other studies show that ~13% of Indiana children are obese. A zillion other studies show all sorts of links between lack of outdoor experience and a myriad of mental and physical problems for people.
The point is, is that there is a lot of value in allowing kids to have free-time access to nature. It doesn’t necessarily matter what they’re doing, just so long as they’re out there. The goal of ICAN is to help people figure out ways to allow children to have time outdoors in this day and age. It’s not like when we were kids, when television was black and white and not so compelling.
The current point of attack is Family Nature Clubs. This is a way for families to get together and hang out outdoors in a safe setting. They’ve been doing training classes for people who want to get started. They plan to do several trainings around the state, including one as part of this year’s EEAI conference.
They have big plans for other things such as working within schools and with the medical community. This project is just getting started, but has a lot of potential. It’s nice to know that there are people out there working on positive things for the future.