To encourage continuous nature-centered outdoor experiences that enrich the live of children.
- Continuous outdoor experiences for every child
- Children and families that participate in outdoor activities are physically and mentally healthier and become responsible citizens
- Unstructured, experiential learning in natural environments
- Continuous outdoor experiences empower children to influence outcomes in their communities in positive ways
- Working collectively as a network of interested organizations and individuals accomplishes more than individuals or organizations working alone.
Be Outdoors Arizona is a collaboration of many organizations established to give people in Arizona a single place to discover and engage outdoor activities.
The idea was inspired by the landmark publication of Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods and subsequent research findings presented on his website (http://www.childrenandnature.org) that conclusively demonstrate the relationship between nature experiences and children’s health and well-being. As Louv points out, “A growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature.”
Connect with Nature
Immediately after Louv’s call for connecting kids with nature, nearly every government agency and non-governmental organization with an environmental education mission initiated nature-based programming for youth. In most cases the content of these varied and assorted programs consists of stand-alone experiences that are not intuitively connected to other programming. Therefore, the experiences of one event do not often readily flow into a continuation of experiences that have significant personal benefit and develop a more in-depth appreciation for the natural world. A lone program might be instructive and inspiring in and of itself, but it usually does not clearly point the way toward additional experiences that build on each other…it does not encourage a continuous walk with nature.
The intent of Nature Walk is to present the community of nature-content providers to the general public in a way that readily enables initial engagement and clearly points toward additional opportunities to experience nature. It takes stand-alone programs from one entity and links it with other programs so learning about and engaging with nature can persist. Beginner programs may involve watching birds in a city park or school playground and progress to more natural and diverse habitats that are renowned for bird diversity.