The 2007 Winter Nature Passport: Cabin Fever Edition gives kids and parents umpteen reasons to brave the cold and go exploring. Besides getting their passports stamped at each of the 11 nature-themed venues, kids can write and draw what they see and do. Every page lists fun seasonal facts ' like that the temperature under a thick layer of snow can be 20 degrees warmer than the air (duh, say veteran snow-fort builders).
The idea for Nature Passport's Winter Edition grew out of a national conference on children and nature that addressed the challenges of 'nature-deficit disorder.'
In January, the U.S. Forest Service launched a pilot program, 'More Kids in the Woods,' that will fund local efforts to get children outside. It's just one of several responses to research that says our kids' mental, physical and spiritual health may depend upon repairing their broken bond with the outdoors.
Six more weeks. You can do it. Don't hand them the remote, hand them boots and mittens and open the door. And remember: Nobody deserves hot chocolate more than a kid who just came in, half-frozen, from a tromp through the snowy woods.
Look for 'Nature Passport: Cabin Fever Edition' at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Henry Vilas Zoo, Madison Children's Museum, Olbrich Gardens, UW Arboretum and more, or see www.naturenet.com.