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A Childhood without Nature?

Published by Christina on February 27, 2012, in Career Advice, General

To be honest, a childhood without nature is a concept I cannot grasp. My exposure to the great outdoors was almost immediate and the love almost as instantaneous. Like my parents, I was enchanted by the magic in the air.

Mt. Lassen, 1971

Hiking with Dad, Mt. Lassen 1971

As I grew, the opportunities to play and explore exceeded, as did my partners in these adventures. Whether I was with family or friends, solo or with my beloved canine companion, the outdoors never asked me to be anyone but myself.

This freedom of one’s self and vast opportunity for exploration has been woven into the life of my child as well. His worries lift and his mind wanders as we close the door to our modern day leashes. I wouldn’t trade our regular “chats on the trail” for a million dollars and love nothing more than to watch him wander, off on his own, humming a tune without realizing he’s doing so.

I pray this will be a generational gift, once again bestowed on the next round yet-to-arrive. In the meantime, I encourage you to extend your tethers and give the gift of the outdoors to the children in your life. It will benefit their mind, physical health and create memories that far exceed your expectations.

Sunshine Tahoe is a proud sponsor of “Play Again” on Thursday, March 15. Join us to further learn why this connection is so incredibly important.

Connecting with Nature and One Another, by Nicole Cheslock
Do you know any children who have fewer positive outdoor experiences today than you and your friends did at their age? How has playing in nature and outdoor education impacted your personal and social development? Does social media foster looking inward rather than encouraging teens to become active in the broader, non-virtual community?

These topics and more will be explored at Play Again on Thursday, March 15. With generous support from the KidZone Museum, Sunshine Tahoe, Cooking Gallery and Cedar House Sport Hotel, the event features guest speaker Barbara Schneider, Ph.D. and the first Tahoe-Truckee showing of “Play Again.” In the film, six screen-addicted teens take their first wilderness adventure. We will discuss the overarching question posed by the award winning documentary, “What are the consequences of a childhood removed from nature?”

Play Again
What: What are the consequences of a childhood removed from nature?
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 15
Where: Cedar House Sport Hotel, Truckee, CA
Tickets: $15 advance (available online at nicolecheslock.com), $20 day
of (if available). Includes presentation, film and snack.

About Barbara Schneider, Ph.D.
Guest speaker Barbara Schneider, Ph.D. has spent her professional, academic and parental life exploring the ways that individuals and institutions are changed by and leverage experiences in informal learning environments such as museums, aquaria, parks and their own backyards. Schneider’s work has resulted in numerous grant awards,conference presentations and publications. She taught A History of Methods and Evaluations of Informal Learning Environments at Stanford University where she earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education. In addition, Barbara has a Master’s degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She resides in Los Gatos with her husband and two daughters but prefers to be in Truckee
whenever they get the chance. “Being the parent of two active children has proven the best teacher of all,” shares Schneider.

About “Play Again”
Tonje Hessen Schei, co-founder of Ground Productions, is a Norwegian filmmaker who directed “Play Again.” At a time when most children play more behind screens than outside, “Play Again” explores the changing balance between the virtual and natural worlds. The documentary follows teenagers who generally spend five to fifteen hours a day behind screens unplug and go outdoors. Through the voices of children and experts (including journalist Richard Louv, sociologist Juliet Schor, environmental writer Bill McKibben, educators Diane Levin and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, neuroscientist Gary Small, parks advocate Charles Jordan and geneticist David Suzuki), “Play Again” explores the role of outdoor play in fostering a sustainable future. Visit
playagainfilm.com for more information.

Nicole Cheslock runs NC Communications, a boutique PR agency serving businesses and nonprofit corporations. She can be reached at (530) 548-5010.