Matchmaker: Reconnecting Kids and Mother Nature

Fully aware that I'm risking sounding like my 70-year-old grandmother, I say this: When I was young(er) we used to spend hours outside collecting leaves and sticks, scaling our ways up welcoming oak trees and enjoying nature so much that my mother had to beg us to come inside for dinner. These days you have to beg kids to un-glue their eyes from television and computer screens, or to put down their iPhone. Last week, I saw a six-year-old carelessly chatting away on his sleek cell as I boarded a bus on my way to work.

Kids these days need to be unplugged from technology and reintroduced to a world they can touch, smell and experience. Kids meet Mother Nature, Mother Nature meet kids.

 The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education is prepared to take on the task of reconnecting the once solid bond between children and the great outdoors. At their “Connecting Nature and Children” forum, participants, including educators, conservationists and health care professionals, will discuss how Philadelphia can become a model for increasing connections between children and nature in backyards, neighborhoods, public spaces and educational settings.

So take some time today to bring a kid you know outside and start the reintroductions in your own backyard or neighborhood.

“Connecting Children and Nature: A Community Forum,” Sat. April 17, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road, register on or before April 12 at http://www.arborday.org/explore/nacc/register.cfm