Kids playing outdoors -- or not
Did playing outdoors as a child lead you to become interested in gardening as an adult? I raise this question after reading an article in today's Washington Post, which addresses the question of what we should do now that America has so many "indoor children" who are disconnected from nature. I was surprised to learn there is a national effort underway to promote a "green hour" for kids, to encourage unstructured outdoor playtime and help prevent nature-deficit disorder.
I know my love of nature -- and gardening -- stems directly from my experiences in childhood. It was actually fun to climb trees and go searching, barefoot, for bright orange salamanders in a nearby stream. But I realize not all kids get to grow up in a safe and beautiful rural place like I did.
This is an issue I've been thinking about for a long time: If kids today aren't spending much time outdoors, will they care about the environment when they're all grown up? If they don't have any experience with real dirt and bugs, plants, and fresh (edible!) fish pulled from clean waters, what's going to make them care about protecting these things for the future? Is this how we get people who drop thousands of dollars on outdoor rooms full of... stuff... only to realize they'd rather stay indoors so their toys don't get - gasp! - dirty? And is a "green hour" the best we can do for kids?
Read the article: Getting Lost in the Great Indoors: Many Adults Worry Nature is Disappearing from Children's Lives.