Year of the Bird – July Action – Take a Child into Nature

Family hike

The Year of the Bird is progressing quickly! July is the seventh month we’ll be taking a small action to help out birds, and this month, the official challenge is to Take a Child into Nature.  Children are spending less and less time outside, which is unfortunate for many reasons.  Time spent outside is not only beneficial for children’s mental and physical development, but it also forges a connection with nature that is important for the child’s entire lifetime and beyond into future generations.  Study after study shows that connecting with nature provides innumerable short-term and long-term benefits to people’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being.  Of course, nature also has intrinsic value—but if we’re going to keep nature around and accessible, people have to value and protect it, and as Baba Dioum said:  “We only conserve what we love; we only love what we understand; we only understand what we know; we only know what we are taught.”  Give a child the gift of loving nature by taking him or her outside this month and teaching about its wonder. Some suggestions for outdoor activities for kids:

AZ State Parks

AZ State Parks

  • Birding (of course!)
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Stargazing
  • Catching fireflies
  • Gardening
  • Visiting a National Park (the Department of the Interior’s “Every Kid in a Park” program means every fourth grader gets a free national park pass that admits the child and an entire carload of friends and family at no charge! Visit https://everykidinapark.gov/ )
  • Watching a sunset or a sunrise

Get more suggestions and information about taking kids into nature and about past challenges here: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/year-of-the-bird/

Here’s a recap of the monthly challenges so far (although you’re also welcome to come up with your own small action for the birds in place of the official suggestions):

  • January – Sign up for the Year of the Bird Challenge
  • February – Get (and use!) eBird; participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count
  • March – Grow native plants
  • April – Defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
  • May – Participate in Global Big Day (or other birding surveys)
  • June – Reduce your plastic use

If you haven’t been participating, it’s not too late to sign up and start taking small actions for the birds! Visit https://secure.everyaction.com/dS085IbtnkSVsloby5h1ig2 to sign up.  Of course, you can also participate in this and any of the other monthly challenges without signing up as well!

by Amy Zimmermann