To encourage continuous nature-centered outdoor experiences that enrich the live of children.
- Continuous outdoor experiences for every child
- Children and families that participate in outdoor activities are physically and mentally healthier and become responsible citizens
- Unstructured, experiential learning in natural environments
- Continuous outdoor experiences empower children to influence outcomes in their communities in positive ways
- Working collectively as a network of interested organizations and individuals accomplishes more than individuals or organizations working alone.
Be Outdoors Arizona is a collaboration of many organizations to give the people of Arizona, as well as those visiting our beautiful state, a single place that will include all realms of outdoor activities within the state.
The idea was inspired by the landmark publication of Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods and subsequent research findings presented on his website (http://www.childrenandnature.org) that conclusively demonstrate the relationship between nature experiences and children’s health and well-being. As Louv points out, “A growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature.”
Immediately after Louv’s call for connecting kids with nature, nearly every government agency and non-governmental organization with an environmental education mission initiated nature-based programming for youth. In most cases the content of these varied and assorted programs consists of stand-alone experiences that are not intuitively connected to other programming. Therefore, the experiences of one event do not often readily flow into a continuation of experiences that have more personal benefit and develop a more in-depth appreciation of the natural world. A lone program might be instructive and inspiring in and of itself, but it usually does not clearly point the way toward further experiences that build on each other. It does not encourage a continuous walk with nature.
The intent of Nature Walk is to present the community of nature-content providers to the general public in a way that readily enables initial engagement and clearly points toward additional opportunities to experience nature. It takes stand-alone programs from one entity and links it with other programs so learning about and engaging with nature can persist. Beginner programs may involve watching birds in a city park or school playground and progress to more natural and diverse habitats that are renowned for bird diversity.
Nature programs from a variety of organizations are arranged by general learning themes and related topics are threaded and offered on a timeline to create a constantly progressive change for an individual to develop a deep appreciation for the object of study. Topics a variety of subjects that might not directly entail nature study, but that are conducted in an outdoor setting that affords outdoor experiences in nature.