July’s YOTB Call to Action is Take a Child to Nature. In this post, Sara Evans-Peters shares why she and her husband take their daughter with them outside with them as much as they can–whether birding, hunting, looking at bugs, or just napping. Sara is a Conservation Planner with Pacific Birds.
I asked my two-and-a-half-year-old today what her favorite bird was. She quickly answered Great Blue Heron because “I like the way they walk.” It made me realize that a simple thing for an adult can be the most enlightening event for a child. My daughter also found an old Bullock’s oriole nest and spent hours trying to figure it all out, stuffing it full of toys, before ultimately deciding it would make a great addition to a princess outfit.
The classic slogan ‘go play outside’ seems to be going by the wayside. As a busy working mom, I understand all too well the temptation to hand the iPad over and go about cooking. But shooing our kids out the door and letting them create castles in their self-designated dirt hole, or soak themselves with the hose while attempting to water that all important invasive daisy, creates nothing but a little more laundry for me.
This YOTB message resonated with me because we, as a family, value sharing our conservation ethic. My husband and I are both biologists and we are passionate birders, backcountry hunters, and recreationists. It is easy for us to drag our young children outside. But I think introducing kids to the natural world can take any form. You don't need to teach your kids to identify birds by species, or even “instruct” at all.
I believe a love for the outdoors can be ignited in anyone–the outdoors is free and surrounds us all. Some kids find that love through birds, others find it along trails, some splashing in tide pools, some with fishing poles in hand. It can be as simple as watching a robin grab a worm through your bedroom window or watching the Canada Goose march with her tiny goslings at the neighborhood park.
We need to create little stewards. Little voices that become big voices to carry our work and passions into the next generation. We are trying to do our part!
Do you have a child at home? Check out these tips and resources.
- Kids can go to com/year-of-the-bird for videos, photos, and weird-but-true facts about chatty parrots, brave ducklings, dancing cranes, and more.
- Download a map of state birds of the U.S.A
- Don’t know where to start? The editor’s share Tips for Getting Kids Outside and 6 Things You Can Do To Help Birds
- Go on a BioBlitz and count species and discover biodiversity in a Neighborhood BioBlitz, a Park BioBlitz, or a Backyard BioBlitz.
- Outdoor Family Fun – No matter where you live, gather friends and family and enjoy some time outdoors! Begin an outdoor project, like planting a garden that will keep you in touch with nature for seasons to come.
- Finding Urban Nature – Most of the time when people think about nature they think of places untouched by humans. “Nature” is often considered something that exists far away from cities. In reality, the division between nature and city is blurry. There is nature all around the city, even inside our homes.