Growing Up Wild In Michigan

State Director Helen Taylor

A global survey of parents and kids reveals that nature is not just "something to do," it is a crucial part of growth. We asked State Director Helen Taylor to weigh in on the importance of children "growing up wild."

What do you do for The Nature Conservancy?

Helen Taylor:

I am State Director for the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

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

Helen Taylor:

This is a huge concern of mine. I learned that the most current national average for kids today is seven hours of screen time and 10 minutes of outdoor time a day. We are utterly losing our connection with nature, and with it, the most deeply healing and inspirational source of energy in our lives.

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

Helen Taylor:

Our children are the stewards of the future and it’s important to me that they understand their responsibility for taking care of the natural world so that it’s there for future generations. Also, I think it will make them healthier and happier people. For me, as a child, the outdoors was my best friend and was a source of great happiness and healing. I was so happy when I was up in my tree! I spent an extraordinary amount of time in a tree reading and if I wasn’t doing that, I was in my fort. I always had a fort in the woods and those were some of my happiest memories. It deeply influenced who I am today.

How does spending time outdoors impact your children?

Helen Taylor:

Sometimes it’s not easy when they have distractions, but when I get them out there, I see the impact of joy on their faces, relaxation, and connecting with the world. We have our best conversations when we’re walking outdoors which is quality shared time together.

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