In partnership with the Russell County Physical Activity/Wellness/Diabetes Coalition, directed by Shirley Roberson, Health Educator with the Russell County Health Center, Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery will be working with the coalition to launch a new initiative designed to get children and their families outdoors called “Let’s Go Outside!.” The program, which will target 4th graders in the Russell County School System, will kick off Monday, March 30th, 2009 and will conclude on Friday, April 24th, 2009. Each child will have a list of activities, all designed to encourage physical activity and direct connections with nature, to take home and do with their parents. Upon completion of the activities, each child’s parent/guardian will sign the sheet. At the end of the 4 weeks, the school with the most 4th graders participating will win a $400 scholarship to use towards a field trip to any outdoor destination of their choice within Russell County. Each child who takes part in the program will also be entered into a drawing to win a prize, and all children who participate will receive a reward as well.
According to the National Environmental Education Foundation, “our children may be the first generation at risk of having a shorter lifespan than their parents. Sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity have contributed greatly to the numerous health problems plaguing today’s children. Chronic conditions such as childhood obesity, asthma, and attention-deficit disorder have all increased over the past few decades. These chronic conditions may lead to pulmonary, cardiovascular, and mental health problems in adulthood. Outdoor activity in the natural environment has taken a back seat to television, video games, the computer, and a demanding schoolwork and extracurricular schedule. Today’s youth are losing the contact with the natural environment that is potentially beneficial for their health and well-being.”
Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery is proud to be a part of the Russell County Physical Activity/Wellness/Diabetes Coalition. For information on the health benefits of connecting people with nature and/or ideas on how to get you and your family and friends outdoors, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Let’s Go Outside!” website at: http://www.fws.gov/letsgooutside/ To learn more about programs at the hatchery, including how to become a volunteer, please contact Amanda Patrick, Environmental Education/Outreach Specialist, at 270-343-3797 or via email (Amanda_Patrick@fws.gov).