National Wildlife Federation Announce 2012 Hike and Seek Program Changing the Nature of Childhood

Event provides children and adults an opportunity to rediscover nature

09-24-2012 // Mary Burnette
Hike and Seek

National Wildlife Federation, America's largest conservation organization, announces the third annual Hike & Seek™ events. Hike & Seek is a series of fundraising outings that inspire a child’s sense of adventure by combining a nature hike and scavenger hunt. It brings children and adults together for a few hours in the great outdoors for some fresh fall air and fun and provides an opportunity to rediscover nature.  

It doesn’t require any advance preparation; interested moms, dads, kids or whole families can sign up at www.hikeandseek.org and then show up ready to spend some family time in nature.  The one to two mile go-at-your-own-pace hikes have interactive “Stop & Study” nature stations with engaging learning activities including fun nature crafts, live wildlife displays, and much more. Every participant is given a Map & Mission Guidebook to direct their path and will receive an Honorary Junior Naturalist badge at the end of the hike.

The events are being held:

Hike & Seek is part of NWF’s Be Out There movement to get kids outdoors where they can connect with nature, run and play, and just be kids. 

With so much emphasis on electronic media these days, the nature of childhood has changed and there’s not much nature in it,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Special Events. “Hike & Seek is an opportunity for parents to show their kids why it’s called the great outdoors. Nature is the best kind of nurture and Hike & Seek is a wonderful way to provide the nurturing all parents want to give their children.” 

American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades, taking a mental and physical toll on today’s kids. The negative impact of decreased time outdoors includes a doubling of the childhood obesity rate--accompanied by an incremental hundred billion dollar cost to our health care system--as well as declining creativity, concentration and social skills. Studies show outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. In addition, children who spend time in nature regularly are shown to become better stewards of the environment.

Fast Facts About Outdoor Time and Children

  • Children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago.  
  • Today, kids 8-18 years old devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media in a typical day (more than 53 hours a week).  
  • In a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own.  
  • Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration.  
  • Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health. 
  • The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11.
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