Monday, May 28, 2007

Nature is Best Summertime Teacher

Nature is Best Summertime Teacher

(ARA) – Sharing time outdoors is a great way for families to discover the wonders of the natural world while learning to be good stewards of the earth.

Good ideas on how to experience those outdoor adventures together can be found in Ranger Rick, the National Wildlife Federation’s award-winning children’s magazine, which is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. Happy Birthday Rick!

Ranger Rick has captivated generations of young readers with amazing photos and articles about wildlife and wildlife habitat. “Ranger Rick helped me see wildlife as something fun and exciting and curious rather than scary or dangerous,” says James Gilardi, who read Ranger Rick as a child.

Another avid reader in his youth, Gregory Watkins-Colwell, from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, credits Ranger Rick with inspiring his chosen profession. “Ranger Rick first introduced me to the word “herpetologist” (study of reptiles and amphibians). I no longer said I was going to be an astronaut, firefighter or rock star when I grew up. No, I was going to be a herpetologist -- and that’s what I am today.”

Karen Good, an environmental educator believes “the stories of Rick and the gang made me realize that I was put on this earth to take care of it. I still have the Ranger Rick nature pledge in my office.”

Ranger Rick continues to entertain and inform young readers while inspiring them to protect wildlife. Anna Lueck, age 10, says “Ranger Rick got me interested in gorillas, and I plan to use my lemonade stand as a fundraiser to help great apes.”

While the magazine is for kids 8 to 12, it appears you never outgrow your curiosity about the wild. “My grandpa gave me a subscription 25 years ago. Now, when my daughter’s Ranger Rick is delivered, I read through it even before I give it to her,” admits Tiffany Vanderhider from Spring, Texas.

Ranger Rick is often used by teachers to stimulate interest in wildlife and wild places. In 2006 the magazine received the Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family by Learning magazine (leading magazine for elementary school teachers).

Expanding on what Ranger Rick has been encouraging for 40 years, the National Wildlife Federation is launching a new program as an antidote for kids with “nature deficit disorder.” The Green Hour is designed to get kids away from their electronic screens and go outside everyday to connect with nature.

These outdoor adventures can promote creativity, lower stress levels, build fitter leaner bodies, inspire a sense of wonder, and instill caring and responsibility for all things wild.  Green Hours can take place anywhere that provides green spaces where children can safely learn and play. Some Green Hour activities recommended by the National Wildlife Federation are:

* Go on a five senses hike

* Organize a nature scavenger hunt

* Explore a local nature trail

* Campout in the backyard

* Take a photo safari

* Put up a bird feeder and wait for visitors

* Observe a night sky

* Plant a family tree and watch it grow

Parents and caregivers can find more ideas for outdoor fun and exploration at

Courtesy of ARAcontent