Many of today’s youth spend less time outside than any previous generation. They’re deprived of the emotional and physical benefits that come from having a bond with the natural world. Rather than “going green,” children are “going screen” – many spend an average of 44 hours per week interacting with electronic media.
Audubon’s partner, Wild Birds Unlimited, wants to do something, so they have created the Pathways To Nature for Kids initiative. For ten years, WBU has provided Audubon with more than 2,000 scholarships to help under-served youth attend summer camps at Audubon centers across the U.S.
For example, the Audubon Community Nature Center, run by the Jamestown Audubon Society, is one of these recipients. The center serves two economically challenged communities: Jamestown, New York and Warren, Pennsylvania. The center provides camps for children in grades preschool through 12. Sarah Hatfield, Senior Naturalist, Camp Director, and Intern Coordinator at the center says, “Many of the families would not be able to attend camp without some financial assistance. We do get donations from local community organizations such as Kiwanis and garden clubs toward scholarships but in past years we have not received enough to cover the requests we receive. Wild Birds Unlimited scholarships have closed the gap for the last several years.”
It’s just one example of some stepping up to take the lead in getting kids back to nature. You can learn more about the Pathway To Nature for Kids initiative here.