Conservation Projects Can Help Kids Connect with Animals

by Editorial Team on October 8th, 2015

sushicatYou may have already heard about ‘Generation Nature’, the new program at SeaWorld headed by budding spokeswoman Bindi Irwin. However, have you ever stopped to wonder if this program really is the best way to teach our kids about nature and wildlife? After all, there is little ‘natural’ going on at SeaWorld and other wildlife parks and zoos. Is viewing animals through cages really the best way to teach our children to engage with the natural world in a meaningful way and respect animals and wildlife? If you are looking for an alternative program that will really help your child to respect the natural world, consider these:

Be Out There
Be Out There is a program run by the National Wildlife Foundation which encourages parents to get their kids outdoors with a variety of fun activities. Rather than sitting at home in front of a TV, the program allows children to learn about a number of different things such as planting a garden or simply just getting outside to play. One awesome part of this campaign is the Geocache Trails, which allow the entire family to get involved in an outdoor adventure.

Let’s G.O!
Let’s Get Outside (G.O) is a program run by the Children and Nature Network and combines play, service and celebration in order to help get children actively involved in natural restoration projects in their local neighborhood. This program can be adapted for local schools, groups and organizations and encourages kids to get parents, teachers and even local government leaders involved in taking on projects that are beneficial to the natural world. Building a community garden, taming wild garlic on a nature preserve, and creating guidebooks for nature trails are just some previous projects of the campaign.

REI Family Adventure Program
The outdoor outfitter, REI, also runs a series of programs to help kids and families get outdoors. Local hiking, bike trails, and a variety of outdoor courses for schools are included, and taught by professionals. Fun outings such as kayaking on local waterways, camping classes, wilderness medicine, and basic rock climbing are also included.

Ocean Guardian Classrooms
Run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this program works to educate children more about marine conservation and sea animal protection. It includes a number of activities that children can take part in in order to learn more about their local watersheds, and also runs more structured programs such as the Ocean Guardian Kids Club. If you live in California there is also the option to involve your local school by becoming an Ocean Guardian School, and you can help to organize school trips to one of the many Ocean Guardian Classrooms located in the US.

If you would like to donate to any of these great causes or the Dancing Star Foundation which also works to conserve international biodiversity, each of these conservational organizations will always welcome new support and donations, and many of them are run on a charitable base.

Do you agree that conservation is the best way to encourage kids to connect with nature? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Brought to you by our friends at Dancing Star Foundation.

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