“Get the Kids Outside” Environmental Education Scholarship Grant
To experience the natural world is to spark a sense of wonder and love of the outdoors. A child raised indoors and plugged–in, with no experience of nature, is disconnected from the real world. Resulting health issues have been shown to include reduced attention, hyperactivity, childhood obesity, and a diminished use of the senses. The positive effects of nature exposure include improved cognitive functioning (including increased concentration, greater attention capacities, and higher academic performance), better motor coordination, reduced stress levels, increased social interaction with adults and other children, and improved social skills.
Experiences in nature also help foster passion and concern for nature and natural spaces. “Simply being outside,” says Lindsay Glasner, K-12 outreach coordinator, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “can drastically change a child’s mindset and foster a love for the world around them.”
Although many schools and organizations can afford to include outdoor programs in their curriculum, for some this is a challenge. That is why the Friends of Lory State Park established the “Get the Kids Outside” grant, to provide a way eligible non-profits can “get students outside” at Lory State Park.
The grant was established in 2015 by a generous donor who wanted to connect local youth to the incredible ecology around them. With pine forests, riparian corridors, granite canyons, red sandstone hogbacks, diverse wildlife and migratory bird and butterfly paths, Lory State Park is an excellent “outdoor classroom” with a team of staff and volunteers dedicated to delivering fun and educational programs.
To hear about the natural world is one thing, to know is to see, smell and touch. The outdoor experience is true environmental learning.
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum