Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. Environmental awareness and involvement at a young age are crucial to the innovation of new solutions to preserve the future of our planet. But according to a nationwide poll released by The Nature Conservancy, only 10 percent of kids say they are spending time outdoors every day versus 88 percent who spend time online every day.
The kids who were surveyed gave several reasons for not spending more time in nature. But with the right ideas, you can encourage your kids to get outside!
Especially in urban cities, access to natural areas tends to be a serious obstacle for many youth in increasing the time they can spend outdoors. Sixty-two percent of youth surveyed reported lack of transportation as either a major or minor factor in their level of involvement.
Fortunately, New York has a lot of nature to offer right here in the city. Open space accounts for 25 percent of New York. And there are lots of preserves that are easy to get to with public transit - like the Pawling Nature Reserve, which is reachable on the MetroNorth.
Eighty percent of youth said that the discomfort associated with being outdoors, due to bugs, weather, etc., was either a major or minor reason that they did not spend more time in nature.
The solution? Find a fun reason to be outside. Go for a hike at a preserve with trails, or take up bird watching as a new hobby. The two biggest outdoor activities that surveyed youth expressed the most interest in participating are seeing something in nature that is beautiful or amazing, and having free time outdoors to spend with friends. Planning fun activities or trips to remarkable nearby preserves can help outweigh the discomfort some people associate with being in nature.
The survey found that many kids do not spend much time outdoors due to a simple lack of interest in being in nature. But friends are among the most powerful influencers to get outside. Ninety-percent of the people surveyed said that they would listen if their friends encouraged them to spend more time in nature.