Get Wild, Child! Celebrate National Wildlife Week March 15-21

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Let Kids Know Why They Call It the Great Outdoors

Hanging Around during National Wildlife Week

Wildlife Week is the perfect time to get those inside kids, out.

It’s time to get those “inside kids” to take a walk on the wild side, and National Wildlife Week is the perfect time to do it.

Sponsored by NWF, National Wildlife Week (March 15-21) encourages kids to unleash their wild child to learn, explore, discover and imagine, surrounded by a world of green. The 2010 theme, "Be Out There At Home, School and Play," will bring children and their families together in nature, get schools involved in going green, and will show kids how the outdoors can be a favorite play space.

The rise of the indoor childhood
The first National Wildlife Week observance took place more than 70 years ago when kids spent time climbing trees, skipping stones, and running barefoot in the grass. Oh, how times have changed. Today’s average child spends only 4-7 minutes outside each day. Compare that to the astounding 7 hours and 38 minutes per day the average kid spends engaged with electronic media, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“We’re raising a generation of indoor children who are missing out on the simple joys found in nature,” said Rebecca Garland, Executive Director of NWF’s "Be Out There" movement. “Our kids need to know why they call it the great outdoors.”

Lack of outdoor time has been linked to childhood obesity, depression, stress, and ADD. Time in nature improves children’s physical, mental, and emotional health, boosts classroom performance, and encourages conservation stewardship. First Lady Michelle Obama’s new anti-childhood obesity initiative says “Let’s Move”. National Wildlife Federation says “Let Move–Outside”.

Wildlife Week for City Kids -- Even kids who live in cities have plenty of opportunities to experience nature. Try some of these ideas:

  • Take a walk in your neighborhood and take your time, get to know the birds and animals that call your neighborhood home. What are they doing this time of year, what are they eating? Can you see any bird nests?
  • Check out any local trees near your house. Touch the bark, examine the leaves, smell the acorns and seeds.
  • Look for insects and spiders and other creepy crawlies.
  • Take photos or draw pictures of your wildlife neighbors. Put them into a collage.
  • Visit a local nature center.
  • Put some treats out for the birds.
  • Join a community garden.

National Wildlife Week:
The National Wildlife Week website offers "Be Out There" resources for kids, parents and educators, including an official Family Activity Passport with a week’s worth of local plant and animal watch lists and fun nature-themed games.

This database helps families locate nearby outdoor recreation spots where National Wildlife Week is in full swing.

Educator Activity Guide:
This resource offers teachers and administrators tips and activities that can be used to green schools through NWF’s Eco-Schools USA program.

A part of National Wildlife Federation’s "Be Out There" movement, celebrating National Wildlife Week is a way to develop happier, healthier kids with a lifelong appreciation of nature. Don’t forget to spring forward your clocks on March 14, and enjoy one extra hour of daylight outside during National Wildlife Week, March 15-21. Visit for simple, fun ideas that can be done almost anywhere, and get wild, child!

Contact: Mary Burnette, Communications Associate Director, Burnette(at)nwf(dot)org or 703-438-6097.


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