Go Outside!

Last week my friend Anne and I built a “pondless waterfall” in my backyard. I had a great time digging in the dirt, getting muddy from top to toe and watching my little Tater cat explore the waterfall as it came into being. As I built it, I thought about my young friend Isaac playing in it when the weather warms up. Last week I took him to Gray’s Lake to build fairy houses, run in circles and explore a bug with intent wonder. Taking Isaac outside and building a stream are two of the projects I do to get kids outdoors.

Waterfall with Cat

Please complete this survey sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The goal is to find out how much young people like being outdoors and what they enjoy doing there.


Environmentalists across the U.S. are concerned about “nature deficit disorder,” a term coined by Richard Louv, to describe what happens to kids when they don’t play outside. Many parents are scared to let their kids play in the park by themselves, but there are real dangers of NOT going outdoors.

  • Join our Facebook Cause–Have Fun Outdoors!
  • Watch this video–Get ’em Outside on YouTube, to get a better understanding of the problem and some solutions.
  • Next April for Global Youth Service Day we are organizing a summit where adults will ask young people to create an outdoor agenda for Iowans, young and old.
  • Read Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods to find out what “nature deficit disorder” is and learn about what happens to kids when they are cooped up indoors all the time.
  • Learn more about the very real dangers of the childhood obesity epidemic and how its roots appear to be embedded in a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Check out the Nature Literacy Series by David Sobel available from Orion Publishing These books help adults overcome fear of the outdoors.
  • Classroom Earth is an online resource designed to help high school teachers include environmental education in their daily lesson plans. It has some great stuff on–
  • Student-led efforts to save energy in schools

Reader interactions

One Reply to “Go Outside!”

  1. Martha McCormick September 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I’m very proud to say that Sara Lockie and Shelly Johnson submitted two successful proposals to the annual conference of NAAEE (North American Environmental Education Association). We’re off to Puerto Rico in October!

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