PARKS, OUTDOOR RECREATION AND EXPERIENCES – Ohio has a rich history of providing outdoor experiences, recreational opportunities and nature education. State and local parks, nature centers and recreation centers provide close-to-home opportunities for children to experience nature. Traditional nature camps allow children to be immersed in the natural world for extended periods of time. Zoos and museums share with visitors a more intimate knowledge of nature and inspire further investigation. And, each year, youth organizations like Camp Fire, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, along with non-profit organizations like the YMCA, give hundreds of thousands of Ohio’s children the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature. Whether a few minutes in a half-acre of wildflowers or a week long camping experience in thousands of 13acres of unbroken forest, outdoor experiences are vital to children’s development. The following actions can enhance the ability of these organizations to bring children quality nature experiences:
Strategy #4: Create programs to provide schools and nonprofit organizations with funds for field trips to parks and other natural areas.
As stated earlier in the report, “real field trips are better than virtual field trips”. In Ohio, an Environmental Literacy Plan is being developed to address how to increase students’ ability to have these experiences. Passage of the No Child Left Inside Act that is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would provide funding for these activities.