Park superintendent Sheridan Steele will speak next week to Department of Interior employees on the compelling health, economic and social reasons why the park service and society in general should ensure that no child is left inside.
In addition to organizing a statewide conference in May 2007, Mr. Steele has been raising awareness about the extent of the crisis first reported by Richard Louv in his book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit.”
Mr. Steele recently spoke at the governor’s conference “Take It Outside,” a conference attended by approximately 400 professionals and others interested in getting children active outdoors. College of the Atlantic President David Hales also was on a panel at the conference.
Acadia National Park has developed a children’s bill of rights – a bill modeled after the recently adopted California children’s bill of rights. “Every child should have the opportunity to see a sunrise from the top of Cadillac and play in tide pools,” said Mr. Steele.
In his upcoming presentation, Mr. Steele, as he has done in other presentations, will highlight research on the detrimental effects on children between the ages of 8 and 18 of not only spending less time outside but of not spending that time in unstructured activity.
“In a report last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that unstructured play is essential for health development – such play provides therapeutic value for youth with attention deficit disorder,…