AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - It is becoming more and more common: Many children have never been on a hike, thrown a stick into a stream or watched an animal in the wild. Nature centers like our own Wildcat Bluff are making an effort to change that.
“It’s really important to get [children] out, not organized. So organized sports are great, they are wonderful for learning teamwork but its really important to just have free time to explore, and how big a rock you can pick up, all those kind of things that really stretch a kid’s imagination,” said Victoria Todd, executive director for Wildcat Bluff Nature Center.
Children especially, but people in general for that matter, just seem to come to life when engaging in the outdoors and there are many benefits.
“But it’s also really important that they spend time outside for their own piece of mind. It lowers blood pressure and it even helps with things like ADHD,” said Todd.
It is simply a joyful moment to watch kids experience nature for the first time.
“There is nothing more fun than seeing a bunny run by, it’s very exciting. They’ll find a horned lizard and that’s exciting. Little guy, smallest one in the group, we gave him real tools, sent him up in a tree and told him to go trim it,” said Todd. “The wind was blowing pretty fiercely that day and he said, ‘What’s that noise, what’s that noise?’ Well we had to stop and think about it; that’s the wind in the grass and he hadn’t heard that before.” said Todd.
For future generations to be good stewards of our environment, it's important that they develop a sense of ownership of the world they live in.
“It’s really important that they save this environment and the ecosystem that we’ve got here. If they don’t see it, they don’t see it up close, and get involved in it and pick up a rock and find a little minnow in the pond. If they don’t see it up close, they aren’t going to love it and if they don’t love it, then they won’t save it. And if they don’t save it then they won’t have it” explained Todd.
You can get involved in supporting the cause and celebrating the memory of nature lover Dan Fogelberg by participating in a special event this weekend at the Nature Center.
“FogelEarth Festival: So in our back parking lot will be music from noon until 8:00 p.m. We’ll have naturalist led hikes, we’ll have speakers in our Gilvin Education Building, that’ll be fun. We’ve got food trucks in the parking lot, we’ve got Gracie’s Project here with dog adoptions. We’ve got 500 tree seedlings to give away to the first 500 people that come. We’ll have a membership drive all day. We will have buckets out for donations,” said Todd.
Ya know, getting kids outside and introducing them to ecology at a young age is really an investment in protecting the Earth, nature and the future and there is a big way you can support that this weekend at Wildcat Bluff Nature Center.
Now that’s some good news.