The number one message I want to convey through Leap into Nature is that people, kids and adults, need to 'get back to nature', find a connection with nature and think about the natural environment in our everyday lives and activities. I say 'get back to nature' as it wasn't that long ago that humans (adults and children) were much more connected to the land and were fully aware of the seasons, where their food came from and how to keep warm and cool. This inherent knowledge created a strong appreciation and respect for the earth. With the industrial and technological revolution many of us seemed to have lost this knowledge and connection.
Our impact on the natural environment is obvious and it is immense. As soon as you wake up we start having an impact: turn the kettle on, the toaster on, watch TV, have a shower, drive the car, buy some food - just to name a few! Most of us don't even think twice about these activities as we have totally forgotten the services our natural world provides for us every day, every week, every year.
I am not here to judge or preach... rather than tell you what you should and shouldn't do I just want to say to you, and to your kids, that nature is in trouble, nature is getting more and more sick and nature needs our help to get better.
Everyone can find a way to reconnect with nature, which would hopefully lead to people also finding a way to tread more lightly on the earth. For kids - appreciation and understanding of the natural world needs to start as soon as they are born and continue throughout their lives. Studies suggest that early experiences in nature can have a positive effect on the kinds of environmental behaviors that people demonstrate later in life (Ref 1). Below the age of six, free play in the outdoors, nature-appreciation activities, and some structured conservation actions are the best way to start that connection with the natural world. This time spent in nature also has many additional benefits for kids, from increased creativity and enhanced cognitive abilities to better health and psychological well-being (Ref 1).
There are a lot of articles and blogs about connecting with nature spreading around at the moment - which is fantastic. It makes me so excited to be part of the 'new nature movement'.
Stay tuned for a Resources/Links page on my website to help you and your kids reconnect with nature!
P.S. I'm new to the blogosphere - so I am not sure if you put references in a blog, but the scientist in me feels i can't 'publish' with out so (not a proper referencing system I know - but its nearly 11 pm and I'm tired!): Ref 1: 'Influencing Conservation Action: What Research Says About Environmental Literacy, Behavior, and Conservation Results' developed by the National Audubon Society (2013).