I just finished up a couple of great Redwood Eco-tours in Redwood National Park. The best part of the adventures were the expressions and enthusiasm from the kids on the trip. At first they seemed a little indifferent-it was father’s idea to come to the Redwoods-but then as we got deeper and deeper in to the Redwood groves I could see a light start to flicker. Then, when I mentioned Star Wars was filmed nearby, the questions started to flow-out like a waterfall! Plus, getting to see a few Banana Slugs, measuring the circumference of a huge tree and seeing the Roosevelt Elk- hard to experience that on Facebook!
I believe these are profound experiences that will stay with these kids for the rest of their lives.
Now that I am a parent, I find myself ‘longing’ to take my family to places that my father took me as a kid. Even though I did not think much of the trips as a kid, that is the reason I now live and work in the National Park-thanks pop!
Here is a great Blog from Ruskin Hartley, Save the Redwoods League’s Secretary and Executive Director.
The Redwood Forest: A Prescription for Kids, Adults
Last week up in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park I overheard two young boys: “Daddy, can I take a photo of the creek?” His older brother commented, “I don’t need a camera, I’m going to take a photo with my eyes.” Pretty profound for a conversation between two brothers under 7. And something I will remember next time I reach for my camera as a crutch for memories.
The parks, particularly the redwood parks, can capture kids’ attention. I camped with friends over July 4th (unfortunately not in the redwoods, but up at Plumas-Eureka in the Northern Sierra). After four days, my two boys were filthy. Rowan has a memory of his first fish to get away, and Emerson hasn’t asked to watch a movie on his mother’s iPhone for days. It’s just fun and discovery from dawn to dusk. Questions abound, “Is there less oxygen on the freeway because there are no trees?” About bugs, “Is a leach an insect even though it has no legs?”
A lot has been written recently about the importance of kids’ and adults’ connection to nature. The book, The Nature Principle, is an example. Physical and mental health are just the start. Some enlightened doctors are even starting to write “prescriptions for visiting parks.” Spend a few days watching six kids under 5 play around camp, and you know it’s all true.
So as the summer grips us, I hope you find the time to get away and have fun in the redwoods and parks. I’d love to hear about your summer plans and memories of fun times past. Oh, and please forgive me for writing this on my iPhone while I was swinging in my hammock between two Sierra trees. Not a good role model, I know.”