Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

June 4, 2009

Summer: A Great Time to Connect with Nature!

Small girl in overalls and a white hat standing at the foot of stairs with two bullfrogs in her hands.
Madeline Carver, daughter of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Fire Management Officer Vince Carver, began connecting with nature at a young age. We're not sure the "nature" survived, but we know that Madeline is healthier and happier as a result! Find some nature, and connect with it! Visit a local national wildlife refuge today! (http://www.fws.gov/northcarolina)ions are being planned, including everything from a week at the beach to a week-end trip to grandma's house. Be sure to take some time during the summer season to connect or reconnect with nature! One way to connect is to visit a local national wildlife refuge. But, another way is to simply go out and play in the rain, catch lightning bugs on a dark night, or lie on your back in your front yard and find the animal shapes in the clouds. The important thing is just to get outside! Photo Credit: Nathan Carver.

Recent studies have shown that children who play outside are happier, healthier, and even smarter than other children. A recent article in The Nation's Health sited the migration indoors as one of the biggest health risks we face today. It could also have dire consequences for environmental advocacy in the future. It stated, "The retreat indoors for many American children has environmental advocates worried that children who grow up without memories of fishing in a local stream or hiking through idyllic woods might become adults for whom conserving the environment isn’t a priority. For public health workers, the effects of sedentary indoor lifestyles are already evident among children: startling rates of obesity, the onset of one-time adult conditions such as diabetes and a shortened life expectancy. Thankfully, though, the movement to reconnect kids with nature has seen a rejuvenation in the last few years, and experts predict that good health will be a major motivator in bringing families back to nature. "

So, be a part of the solution. Children will follow the examples of the adults in their lives. Take a walk with your child, grandchild, or other child in your life, instead of watching television. Go fishing. Put up a bird feeder in your back yard and have them keep track of how many birds come to eat. Take them to the beach and build sand castles. Just get outside and spend some quality time there.

For those at a loss for where or how to start, take a trip to one of the national wildlife refuges in eastern North Carolina. Walk on a wildlife trail and chat about the messages in the signs along the way. Drive around just before dark and watch for animals as they prepare to hunt, or scavenge, or bed down for the night. Check the web (http:/www.fws.gov/northcarolina) and find a special program or event on a local refuge that you can attend. One good opportunity coming soon is the Crabbing Rodeo on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on June 13 from 9 am until noon. And, there are all kinds of programs offered all summer long on both Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges. But, whatever you do, do it soon. Each day you miss is lost forever.