|SARASOTA COUNTY – In celebration of the Sept. 24-30 “Take a Child Outside Week,” Sarasota County is offering an array of free events to help children—and adults—explore and connect with nature.
From a nature hike through a bayfront park to a radio show discussing the benefits of and opportunities for outdoor activities, the events focus on getting more outdoor time to highlight and expand our links to the natural world.
|“Recent studies show that time in nature builds confidence, promotes creativity and imagination, teaches responsibility, provides stimulation, gets kids moving, inspires thinking, and reduces stress and fatigue,” said Dr. Katherine Clements, ecology and natural resources educator with UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County. “Best of all, it’s just plain fun.”
The studies noted by Clements include those by academic researchers, health care professionals and others. They also underpin the aim of “Take a Child Outside Week,” initiated by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and based upon author Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods” book.
Louv, a child advocacy expert, lamented in his book what he termed a “nature-deficit disorder” in many children today, as they turn increasingly to online and indoor activities at the expense of time spent outside exploring and playing in nature.
To flip that, Sarasota County Extension partnered with the County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources and Libraries departments, the University of South Florida, and The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast on a lineup of local events for “Take a Child Outside Week,” including:Discovery Walk at Lemon Bay Park (9-11 a.m. Sept. 25): A family-fun discovery walk to learn about plants and animals in this Englewood park. Registration required: www.eventbrite.com/e/154013978957.
Owls, Adaptations, and Pellets! (6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 28): Families can visit Bay Preserve in Osprey to learn about owls and the adaptations that make them great predators. Plus, dissect an owl “pellet” to see what they eat. Registration required: www.eventbrite.com/e/169496156567
Finding Peace in Difficult Times (4-5:30 p.m. Sept. 29): A virtual event to explore the healing power of mindfulness in nature. Registration required: scgovlibrary.librarymarket.com/events/finding-peace-difficult-times
Master Gardener Volunteer Radio Show
(10-11 a.m. Oct. 02): Sarasota County Extension’s Dr. Katherine Clements and Mindy Hanak discuss the benefits of getting children out in nature, and where to do that locally. Online at facebook.com/SarasotaMasterGardeners,and via WKDW 97.5 FM.
“Explore Your World” backpack/kit: Designed by UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County in partnership with Sarasota County Libraries, this kit packs the tools and resources to help explorers of all ages get outside and explore. Available for free check-out at any Sarasota County public library. Learn more: tiny.cc/ufsaraext_explorebackpack.
Learn more about the benefits of connecting with nature and local opportunities at https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasotaco/2019/09/24/the-necessity-of-nature/. And, find more Extension events at https://ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com.
Questions? Call 941-861-5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County partners county, state and federal resources to deliver research-based information and programs across six core areas: sustainable agriculture; gardening and landscaping; natural resources; nutrition and healthy living; sustainability; and youth development. Learn more at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasota, or call 941-861-5000 or email email@example.com.