According to The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), "children ages 8-12 in the United States spend 4-6 hours a day watching or using screens, and teens spend up to 9 hours." Obviously, this can be concerning for those of us who love the outdoors and want our youth to grow up playing outside, learning to experience and enjoy our wild lands and animals.
A generation of young ones are at risk of growing up without knowledge of, and respect for, the outdoors. That is, unless, we as adult influences and parents step in and introduce them to it. With some guidance, passions will blossom and future conservationists will emerge.
As with all things there is some dichotomy, while too much electronic use is negative, it can also provide access to information otherwise difficult to find. For this reason, I often search for events and resources aimed at educating and entertaining our youth, with respect to the outdoors and conservation. Today's find is the " Kids For Conservation" page on the Illinois DNR website. It can be found here and is a section on the Outreach/Education section of the site. It contains many informational articles that can be shared with kids to give them a look into the many amazing plants, animals and habitats found in Illinois. If you have a kid at home, you may spark their minds with some of this information. Give your children the gift of knowledge. Who knows, you may be raising the next Theodore Roosevelt or Margaret Murie. Steve Irwin was cool too.
Beyond Kids For Conservation, the main outreach/education page gives educators and parents tips for field trips, outdoor education and grants that aid in those areas. Give it a look and pass along some quality information to the ones who need it most, our youth!