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Wildlife Nation is a new online community created by the National Wildlife Federation with the goal of supporting adults who are interested in getting their kids outside and into nature more often. The new community is also meant to help parents raise kids who have an appreciation for wildlife. If you already love being outside or really need some help getting back to nature with your kids, this site is for you. Becky Lentz, director of Great Lakes programs and operations at the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office, which initiated the community notes, “My favorite memories as a kid involve the outdoors. But children today are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature and wildlife. We started Wildlife Nation because we can’t imagine a world where nature and wildlife are not a part of kids’ lives. Our goal is to create a community where we all help each other so that kids today can enjoy the wonders of wildlife whether they live in a large city, a suburb, or rural community.” Parents who join the program can connect with others who enjoy doing things outside or learn more about being in nature with kids from more experienced outside-minded parents. Anyone who joins in can upload pictures, tell stories, and ask questions, plus once involved, parents will find resources for outdoor activities such as how to create a habitat in their backyard, plant trees, or set up camp.
“We view Wildlife Nation as a kind of ‘niche Facebook’ for adults who care about wildlife and want to pass that sense of caring on to the kids in their lives – whether those are their own kids, grandkids, or the kids at their school, church or down the block,” said Julia Liljegren, regional education manager. “The Wildlife Nation community is online and on-the-ground, so teams of one or more adults do stuff outside with kids and then connect with others to share what they are doing online. People can do as much or as little as they want, how and when they want to do it. Whether you’re the type of person who likes to take a leisurely stroll around the block or hike the Appalachian Trail, you’re welcome to be part of Wildlife Nation.” If you’re a parent, individual, teen, school or organization concerned about kids health, you’re welcome to join the community.
So far there are 16 founding teams representing the states of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Vermont all of which are participating in the launch of the social media platform for the program. This program is sorely needed as increasingly, children are spending way too much time indoors sitting in front of screens. Wildlife Nation aims to help reverse this trend by inspiring kids (and their parents) to get outdoors every day which hopefully will create an entire generation of happier, healthier children who have a real connection to the natural world. If you’d like to learn more, join them on Facebook, check out their YouTube channel or connect on Twitter or Pinterest. You can get started right now by reading more about why it’s vital to send your kids outside to play.