YOUTH IN NATURE
Today's youth spend less time outdoors than any other generation, often devoting only minutes to outdoor activities per day. Studies have shown that outdoor time in nature is essential to healthy life, and feeling purposeful. A sense of purpose has been shown to be positively correlated to mental and emotional well-being. Developmentally, the period from childhood through adolescence is when humans develop strong bonds with their community, gain their sense of identity and begin to experience a desire for purpose. Among youth, purpose is often realized when they learn they can make a difference.
Our Youth in Nature programs foster immersion into the natural world with consequent discovery that as individuals, youth can contribute to something larger than themselves by integrating their talent, passions and values (many still being learned) into their future pursuits. Without opportunities to be outdoors making a difference, youth can become disconnected with nature, and carry that disconnection into adulthood, creating a troubling trend for their future as well as the future of a sustainable world.
Our program connects youth to nature with successful take-action projects, and helps build leadership skills. One area is with habitat education using actual native plant restoration in fire-damaged areas--this activity is purposeful, and creates a strong bridge to continuing outdoor time in nature. Early exposure to being outdoors and making a difference will stay with youth into adulthood. This opportunity for lasting connection to the outdoors also increases the likelihood of long-term conservation stewardship.
Young people learn quickly, and instilled with a purpose can become powerful change-makers before adulthood. Our take-action projects help build those skills, and energize youth to choose to be environmental stewards throughout their life, where they can continue to be the change-makers of tomorrow. This program connects youth to nature with successful take-action projects, while building environmental leadership skills that will last a lifetime.