Can a summer vacation help create a sutainable future? YES! Sustainability begins with a concern for the wild places in the world and summer vacation is an excellent place to instill love of the outdoors. A few months ago, I was privledge to attend the Student Conservation Association’s Earth Vision Summit. I know the young folks walked away inspried and ready for action; but I learned a few things too.
There are 391 National Park areas comprising over 84 MILLION acres in the U.S. A meaningful summer vacation is closer than you think! Our National Parks are your tax dollars at work. If you want your kids to experience the wilderness, explore it, be amazed by it, develop a sense of stewardship and a passion to protect it, you might be surprised by all the ways our National Parks can help make that happen!
For example, do you know about the Passport? I know a five-year old who is crazy for maps. When I met him, he announced, “I’m five, and I’ve been to 8 states!” He could point to them on a map and was quite proud of his geographical accomplishment. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had been exposed to much more than Turnpike rest stops in these states. This is the kind of kid that would thrive on chronicling his National Park visits by stamping a his “own official passport!” Here is complete list of parks where you can get your passport officially stamped!
When you visit a National Park, your children can experience the pride of becoming a Junior Ranger! Imagine what the outdoors will mean to child who spent their formative years learning about the land and collecting Junior Ranger patches!
High gas prices hindering your summer travel? No problem! Web Rangers is a fantastic site that allows your kids to explore from their computer AND inspires them to get out and explore their own backyard! There are games and activities involving the night sky, pumas, baby turtles, map reading, dinosaurs, water quality, history, geology and code breaking; just to name a few. Your kids can earn their patches from home and get inspired to hit the road at a later date.
Our wilderness is out there, waiting for you and your family to explore. If you have had great experiences in a National Park, let us know!
[This post was written by Lee Welles.]