National Get Outdoors Day - June 8, 2013 - Ten Reasons to Get Outdoors
10) A smaller and smaller portion of the nation is deriving physical, mental and spiritual benefits from time on their lands, and use is especially low for America’s poor, our urban dwellers, and minority Americans.
9) Today’s American kids are less connected to the outdoors than any previous generation. 6.5 hours a day spent watching screens. Six times more likely to play a computer game than ride a bike. Four times more likely to be obese than previous generation. And now facing shorter lives – a decline of 2-5 years in average length of life from parents’ life expectation.
8) America’s youth tell us that we are not reaching them with invitations to be active outdoors because we are not using the communications channels they utilize most: social networking sites including YouTube and MySpace and text messaging and photo-sharing from phone to phone. They tell us they are interested in the outdoors but need "triggers," and National Get Outdoors Day intends to be a trigger.
7) Americans are overwhelmed with information over the Internet. Information on what to do and where to do it is available – but we need to help Americans find it!
6) Americans who volunteer are also likely to be healthier. There are abundant opportunities to get healthy by volunteering on public lands.
5) America’s public lands and water agencies and the recreation community need to work as a team to compete for the hearts and minds of 21st Century Americans. We aren’t talking about choices between biking and fishing for most Americans, but between malls and home-based technologies and the outdoors.
4) The future of America's public lands will be determined by the extent to which Americans care about the Great Outdoors -- and if fewer people directly benefit from time outdoors, the prognosis is not good.
3) Americans have a growing problem that can be addressed with more physical activity – an increase in the percentage of Americans who are overweight and obese. This trend carries with it big costs – in dollars and quality of life. Some $160 billion in direct public spending. 7 in 10 deaths now attributable to largely preventable chronic illnesses – and 3 out of every 4 dollars in our healthcare spending is similarly directed at largely preventable chronic illnesses.
2) Combating stress:
About to Burst: Handling Stress and Ending Violence by Rebecca Radcliffe. Teenagers live in a world that is more stressed than ever before. They get overloaded with pressure at school, conflicts at home, relationship problems, and career choices. Many have to deal with divorce, moves, financial struggles, jobs, and blended families. When stress builds up, teens cope however they can. They may drink, drive aggressively, get high, overeat, go shopping, spend hours on the computer or playing video games, or take out their frustration on others. This is why we see increased bullying, isolation, depression, obesity, eating disorders, inappropriate sexual activity, violent outbursts, cutting, intolerance and hate crimes, suicide, and many other destructive choices. Kids need new and better choices. They need help unwinding and handling pressure in positive ways. Recreation is a powerful antidote to stress.
1) American families, American communities and the nation need the connectivity and unity that results from family and friends enjoying time in the outdoors.
Learn more at http://www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org/
Support the Alaska Environmental Literacy Plan
Research shows that when children are connected to nature, they do better in school, have fewer behavioral and health problems, and are more engaged in learning. These facts are not the current reality for many Alaskan students. We as parents, educators, professionals and community members have the power to change the future for Alaskan students and our state. A dedicated group of diverse educators and natural resource professionals have drafted the Alaska Environmental Literacy Plan (AKELP).
Development of this Plan is supported by a coalition of natural resource agencies and organizations across the state. Alaska’s Environmental Literacy Plan is designed to connect youth with the natural world and the communities within which they live. It is a framework to guide schools (PreK-12) in integrating environmental education, including active outdoor learning, as part of the school curricula with support from community partners. Implementation of the Plan will result in no new educational mandates, nor will it take away from current educational programs. It will provide opportunities for schools and community partners to receive support to implement place-based learning opportunities, develop outdoor classrooms and provide important professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators and community members.
The Alaska Environmental Literacy Plan will ensure that our state is well positioned to obtain funding from both private and public sources. Specifically, the No Child Left Inside proposed legislation, as well as the President's blueprint for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, include incentives for states to prepare a State Environmental Literacy Plan.
You can view the plan at http://AKELP.org There are several ways to provide your support!
1. Write a letter of support for AKELP and encourage organizations, school districts and others you know to submit resolutions or letters supporting it. You may email these to Kristen Romanoff at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game at Kristen.firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Visit and "Like" the Alaska Environmental Literacy Plan Facebook page to view a sample letter or resolution and to get updates on Plan activities. Share your success stories on the AKELP Facebook page.