Kids Outdoors! A Green Umbrella Success Story
Outdoor activities provide well-documented health benefits, both physical and mental.
Nature brings us “good tidings,” as John Muir wrote so simply a century ago. More explicitly, best-selling author Richard Louv tells us that “direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.”
But many children instead spend their time looking at those oh-so-addictive screens. Many more live in paved urban areas where access to greenspace may be limited.
Introducing children to the wonders of outdoor adventure can result in healthier citizens and a more sustainable community.
Green Umbrella addresses the issue with the annual Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo, one of the nation’s largest outdoor recreation and nature education events for children. This free event for children ages 5 to 12 features activities designed to let kids move, splash, explore, and discover nature.
On a morning in July families, day camps, recreation centers, and other participants bring some 5,000 children to a spacious local park. Buses from all over the city provide special opportunities for many children, some of whom rarely leave their urban neighborhoods. The bus transportation is free, with participation limited only by funding available to Green Umbrella.
On arrival, kids find more than sixty activities and exhibits to enjoy. In 2017, the event’s twelfth year, they can have fun participating in active adventures including
- Let’s move! Learn about safety, nutrition, and health — run, jump, climb, dance, and complete an obstacle course.
- Let’s explore! Learn about nature and wildlife — discover and get up close with things found in our own back yards.
- Let’s splash! Learn about aquatic life and water safety — fish, paddle, and get drenched with knowledge.
- Let’s be green! Learn how to care for our world by reducing, reusing, and recycling — plant, garden, and make crafts from reused material.
The people who make Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo happen are staff from Green Umbrella and Great Parks of Hamilton County, volunteers from our Outdoor Action Team and member organizations, and exhibitors. Providing thousands of children with unique experiences and lasting memories is rewarding work for all. Funds from sponsorships and donations make the event possible.
Green Umbrella considers the equity aspects of Kids Expo especially important. Our sustainability mission extends to all citizens of our region, and the inclusion of those with more limited opportunities is a benefit for everyone.
Children who learn to enjoy nature can become the next generation of healthy stewards of the environment.
Written by Bob Temple, longtime member of Green Umbrella's Board of Trustees.
Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. We drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.greenumbrella.org.