We are excited to share our cause with you! (And sorry for the run around)

Please visit our websites: Camp Orkila  &  Camp Colman for the best information about our Annual Campaign.

Why Kids Need Nature

Kids at Risk

Kids have a basic right to a healthy, whole childhood. In fact, with major advances in medicine, education and other fields, kids today should enjoy a higher quality of life than ever before. But chronic health conditions--such as obesity, diabetes and depression--have reached alarming rates, affecting a growing number of kids.

  • More than a third of American children and adolescents–17 million--are obese or at risk for obesity.
  • 60% of obese 5- to 10-year-old children already have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
  • The number of kids living with a chronic disease has more than quadrupled since 1960, from 1.8% to nearly 8%.
  • The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes, including children, has risen at an alarming rate over the past 50 years, from 1.5 million to 17.9 million.
  • A 2003 survey, published in the journal Psychiatric Services, found the rate at which American children are prescribed antidepressants almost doubled in five years.
Kids Indoors
Kids are becoming increasingly disconnected from the great outdoors. Heavily-scheduled kids travel from school to organized sports or activities and then indoors. Along the way, the outdoors has become a place many kids merely visit.
  • In 1969, 50% of U.S. children walked or biked to school. In 2004, less than 13% did.
  • The area in which children are free to roam has shrunk by 89% in the past 20 years.
  • After 50 years of steady increases, per capita visits to U.S. national parks declined by 25% from 1987 to 2003.
  • Nature-based recreation as a whole been declining every year since the 1980s, for a total decline of roughly 25%.
  • The U.S. loses one million acres of forest each year. The U.S. Forest Service reports that we have lost 13 million forestland acres since 1992 and estimates that 23 million more will be gone by 2050.
A growing body of evidence suggests that these two trends—the decline in children’s health and their separation from nature—are linked. If we fail to recognize this link and reconnect kids with nature, we shortchange their health and happiness now—and risk creating a generation of adults that is less healthy, productive and able to value and protect our country’s natural resources. Now is the time to act. The National Forum on Children and Nature has found ways that we can all take action—today.