Growing Up Wild: Conservancy Staffer Keith Bennett Shares How He Helps His Kids Connect With Nature

"Living, learning, and loving nature is so much a part of my life...and I want my kids to enjoy the same."

Keith Bennett, Seed Harvest and Restoration Technician for The Nature Conservancy's Dunn Ranch Prairie in northwestern Missouri, is no stranger to the outdoors.  A 'Preserve Parent', Keith is one of the many people who work for The Nature Conservancy at a preserve - and whose kids get to spend a lot of time there.  Savannah, and twins Dillon and Breann (pictured at age 9), can often be seen at Dunn Ranch, a wide open prairie expanse well over 3,000 acres in size.

"Growing up in the country, it's hard to imagine not being outdoors enough," says Keith.  "Living, learning, and loving nature is so much a part of my life...and I want my kids to enjoy the same."

Connecting kids to nature can have a positive and powerful impact.  A survey conducted by Nature Rocks and Disney found that parents are concerned that children aren't spending enough time outdoors, and furthermore, that many parents feel that being outdoors is important to the development of their children.  The Bennetts are no exception.

"Nature teaches so many lessons," says Keith.  "You reap what you sow.  You have to be a conservationist for things to work.  From weather, to bugs, to plants, to fresh water to drink - the list goes on and on."

It's a way of life that he puts into practice - whether at the preserve or at home, nature is part of life for them.

"I live in the country, so my kids pretty much live outside.  My kids have grown up living and learning about nature - living in the country, we have a big garden, some outdoor pets, sometimes raising our own meat."  Apart from raising chicken, pork, and beef, they also often go hunting and fishing.

"Without nature, there's no life," Keith says.  "No food, and no freshwater to drink.  But that's for the parents to think about.  The kids just need to enjoy the outdoors!"



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