Today, children spend between seven and eleven hours a day indoors sedentary with media and only minutes a day playing outdoors.
Hundreds of Texas Children in Nature (TCiN) partner organizations across the state are dedicated to changing this trend by saving children from “nature deficit disorder” through providing opportunities for outdoor exploration and play.
Nature Rocks Texas, a website created by TCiN, lists nature centers, parks, green spaces and nature-based activities for children and adults. The site is curated to be a one-stop guide for families to find things to do together in the outdoors.
“We wanted to create a resource for families where they could connect with nature in their community,” said Jennifer Bristol, coordinator for Texas Children in Nature. “The website is built with today’s busy families in mind so they can easily find the nature-centers, parks and outdoor learning opportunities in their neighborhoods or nearby.”
As Texas continues to grow, access to nature for families in urban and suburban areas becomes increasingly important. This shift to a sedentary life, disconnected from nature, leads to a rise in childhood obesity, depression, near-sightedness and other mental and physical issues. Research shows when children spend time playing and exploring outside, they are healthier, happier and smarter. Texas is home to six of the most populated cities in the country but only boasts four percent public lands where families can find healthy outdoor opportunities.
Nature Rocks Texas currently lists events and public lands around Texas with a focus on the heavily populated areas of Austin, Caprock, Coastal Bend, Dallas/ Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio regions.
“Our idea is to help families understand they have options for getting outdoors that are local, low cost and fun,” said Bristol. “Our partners input their events, programs and camps for families to find learning and structured opportunities. We also have all the parks listed for families to explore and enjoy nature on their own.”
Texas has 95 state parks and 12 national parks and recreation areas that celebrate some of the best natural and cultural wonders of the state. These parks offer every possible outdoor adventure one could imagine. In addition, local parks, trails and nature centers offer an even greater diversity for the daily contact with nature that children and families need. Nature Rocks Texas helps connect families with these opportunities.
“Texas children deserve every opportunity to grow up strong and healthy,” said Bristol. “We want to give them every resource possible to get outdoors to be healthier and happier.”
To discover nature near you and start planning your next adventure, visit http://www.naturerockstexas.org/.