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Segunda-feira, 16 de Julho de 2007

As maravilhosas crianças e as maravilhosa NATUREZA

Karina Bland
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 15, 2007 12:00 AM

My 8-year-old knows more about global warming and the disappearing rain forest than he does about the plants that grow in our backyard.

For Sawyer, living in downtown Tempe, nature is the stuff of PBS specials, not part of his daily life. He's seen a butterfly's pale cocoon growing in a box in his second-grade class, not outside.

So, every summer, we go north, leaving behind the scorching temperatures, in search of trees and dragonflies. We wade through ankle-deep water looking for crayfish and sleep with the windows wide open, listening for owls. We just booked a cabin for a few days in July.
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I didn't know how important it was that we make that annual trek until my son's first-grade teacher told me to read a book called Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. I had been lamenting about fitting in twice weekly Little League practices and getting homework done.

The book makes the case for fewer structured activities and more free play outside. In February, I heard Louv speak at the Phoenix Zoo.

He said children of the digital age have become alienated from the natural world, much to their detriment. Being in nature reduces stress, sharpens concentration and promotes creative thinking. He cited all sorts of studies.

But we don't send our children out to play like our parents did, and we would disappear on our bikes until the streetlights came on. We keep our kids close to home, apprehensive of strangers and traffic.

So Louv said, "We are going to have to take our children into nature ourselves." And we have to support the kinds of organizations that bring nature to our children, like zoos, scout troops and wildlife groups.

You don't have to run off to the woods every weekend, Louv said. Start in your own backyard or nearby parks, desert trails and preserves. He said: "A little nature is better than no nature at all, and more nature is even better."

I vowed that we'd spend more time in nature. I didn't know my boy would bring it home with us.

During a hike in the woods near Flagstaff in February, Sawyer picked up a stick almost as tall as him. First, it served as a walking stick.

In the weeks that followed, the stick was a sword and light saber. He used it to prop up a makeshift tent in his bedroom and barricade the bathroom.

I ran across it in the living room, car and front porch. Exasperated, I asked Sawyer, "Can I throw this away?"

"No!" he almost shouted.

"What are you going to do with it?" I asked.

He tucked it into the waistband of his shorts and said simply, "Everything."
publicado por mh às 11:45
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