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Kids In Nature Family Programs & Events
Kachemak Bay Research Reserve

Muddy friends enjoying Mud Games at The Wallow in Homer. Photo - Carmen Field
Muddy friends enjoying Mud Games at The Wallow in Homer.

The Kachemak Bay Research Reserve (KBRR) staff and community partners offer several Kids in Nature workshops and events for families, parents, or caregivers each year to facilitate getting children in the Kachemak Bay region outdoors more. Check out the upcoming Kids in Nature activities!

In the words of author Richard Louv - who wrote the catalyzing book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder - today's young people are engaged in a remarkable retreat to the indoors. Louv and many other researchers have found that over the past 40 years children have become less and less connected to the outdoors, with more kids likely to experience nature through the lens of TV than through a magnifying lens or up close and personal while playing in the fresh air. For a plethora of reasons - including liability issues, safety from strangers and dangerous wildlife, over-full schedules (of both parents and kids), changing landscapes, and the draw of 'cool' technologies - today's kids are not spending much time outside.

Kids climbing a tree stump at Haystack Beach. Photo - Carmen Field
Kids climbing a tree stump at Haystack Beach.

This lack of contact with the outdoors is not good for children. A broad volume of research studies from across the disciplines and globe increasingly show that nature is important to children's development in every major way - intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically. With nature-deficit disorder comes the loss of so many benefits from nature, among them opportunities for improving creativity, self esteem, cooperation, ability to focus, coordination, and courage; warding off childhood obesity and myopia; reducing some of the effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); and the creation of our planet's stewards, who by connecting with the natural world and its myriad relationships as youngsters, forge a lifelong appreciation and respect for the outdoors. Children are happier, healthier, and smarter when they have frequent and varied opportunities for free and unstructured play in the outdoors.

To help address this disconnect from nature, Reserve staff - with support from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game Wildlife Conservation Division and ConocoPhillips - have developed a series of Kids in Nature workshops for Alaskan parents and caregivers and a Kids in Nature Parent Caregiver Workshop Toolkit for Community Leaders. These workshops happen around the state to empower parents and caregivers to take their children outdoors and to help engage families in outdoor play. If you would like to receive a copy of the Kids in Nature workshop toolkit, please contact Carmen Field.