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Growing Up Wild

For many of our Conservancy staff members, nature isn't just a profession, it's a passion that they want to share with their children. Ohio's Jessica Keith hopes exposing her young children to nature will help them better understand the connection between nature and well-being.

What do you do for The Nature Conservancy?

Jessica Keith:

I work in the Marketing Department, helping to convey the relevance of the organization's work to existing and potential supporters.

A new survey reveals parents around the world are concerned children are not spending enough time outdoors. What is your reaction to that?

Jessica Keith:

I’m with them! I’m familiar with “nature deficit disorder” and believe that there are real health issues that can arise in children spending too much time indoors.

Why is it important to you that your children grow up connected to nature?

Jessica Keith:

For a few reasons. I want them to appreciate nature and all it does for us, and I think exposing them to it will help them better understand the connection between nature and our well-being. I’m also concerned about their health. I’ve read studies that show that kids who don’t spend enough time in nature seem more prone to anxiety, depression and attention-deficit problems. Finally, my family really enjoys being outdoors together—no distractions, just good bonding time.

How does spending time outdoors impact your children?

Jessica Keith:

There’s something about running, jumping, playing and just getting some fresh air that seems to do their bodies good. It’s a stress release. And a side benefit for mom and dad is that they tend to take a longer nap after getting outside!

Is there a specific place outdoors you spend a lot of time with your children?

Jessica Keith:

From time to time, our family visits the Conservancy’s Big Darby Headwaters Preserve in Central Ohio. There’s a trail system there that we love to explore. We also spend a lot of time enjoying area Metro Parks. My four-year-old son loves to drop little stones into the creek for their splash effect, so to indulge him we’re always on the lookout for trails that cross over, or run alongside streams!

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