Kids Can Make A Difference For Endangered Rivers
Last week, we released our annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® report. My favorite interview was with press4kids, a daily news app for kids and schools.
I was happy to get the call because I love any chance to get children excited about rivers and nature. Not only do our kids need more connection with nature (as Richard Louv with Children and Nature Network so eloquently writes), they need to know that their voices make a difference and that there is hope for the places we care about.
So how can kids help America’s Most Endangered Rivers?
- Kids can write to their members of CongressYou can take action on one of the ten Most Endangered Rivers here. But our elected officials also need to hear about the importance of whatever river flows through your town. It matters, whether it’s a small stream or a big river. Kids, share your stories and speak from the heart about why protecting and restoring your river is important.
- Kids can organize a river cleanupWe’ve all seen the plastic bags and fast food wrappers tangled in the brush along a stream bank. Kids can organize river cleanups with their friends, family, school, faith, and community groups to pick up trash and beautify the stretch of river in their town. It’s a great way to build community pride.
- Kids can have adventures!This is the most important one – get out there and enjoy your river! Everyone from The Atlantic to our local Trackers camp is talking about the importance of giving kids freedom to roam and play outside.
Spending time in nature has scores of benefits for kids and families – outdoor play is linked to better grades, better health and behavior, less obesity, and happier kids.
Plus, if we don’t have a whole army of kids, millions of them, falling in love with rivers and wild places then we’re all going to be in bad shape. Because these kids will someday be adults, making decisions and voting, and you need to love something in order to fight for it.
As parents, we don’t need to travel great distances or spend a lot of money on a big trip or a lot of gear. We just need to step outside and see what our neighborhood has to offer. Maybe it’s a cool old tree. Maybe it’s a wild overgrown alley. Maybe it’s worms in the dirt or hunting rainbows after a storm.
Giving kids a love of the outdoors now is essential if we want healthy rivers in the future. So get out there and have fun!