|Roundtop peeking over the neighboring hill|
My general impression of the kids is that they don’t have nearly as much knowledge of the outdoors as the kids I worked with even four or five years ago. By the time I was their ages, I had caught countless crayfish, knew the names of lots of birds, knew what poison ivy looked like and didn’t scream every time I saw an insect. These kids can’t tell a robin from a goose, don’t know enough to look in puddles for frogs or interesting animal tracks and don’t even try to be quiet when they are walking through the woods. With the kids I see, very basic knowledge of the outdoors is missing. What’s perhaps even scarier is that these are the kids who are interested enough to come to an adventure camp in the first place. What the kids are like who don’t want to come to adventure camp, I can’t even guess. And remember, these aren’t kids who’ve spent their lives in a city for the most part either. They are kids from small and medium-sized towns and the suburbs.
What I’m afraid that will eventually translate into are large numbers of adults with very limited or very shallow knowledge of the natural world. In the future, as we face ever more extreme weather, and our ever-growing population forces ever more choices about sharing the earth with its other inhabitants, I’m afraid the choices that will be made won’t be the best ones. Those kids don’t know it yet but their future, and those of their own children, will hinge on making the best choices humans can make, and to do that they need to know and understand a whole lot more about how the world works. I sure wish I could do more to help that happen.