RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—This dire economy has caused a lot of us to relearn to love our backyards—as a source of homegrown produce, a place to read free library books, and a convenient location for low-budget holiday barbecues. Now, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is trying to turn the backyard into the next hot vacation destination.
The nature-minded nonprofit is sponsoring the Great American Backyard Campout on June 27th, as part of their “Be Out There” campaign to get kids interacting with nature more than they do with video games. “Kids are spending nearly 60 to 70 percent less time outdoors than previous generations,” says Mary Burnette, spokesperson for NWF. Part of that reason, she says, is our love affair with indoor technologies like computers and televisions. But it’s also because kids are so highly scheduled, she adds, between soccer practice and ballet lessons, math camps, and so on. “Kids have much less time to go outside and chill, where they can explore nature and use their imaginations. Spending a night in your backyard can be one fun, cool way to get started,” she says.