Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery will be hosting a one day conference, geared specifically towards those working in the healthcare field, to discuss the movement and importance of reconnecting children with nature, particularly in regards to health benefits, on Thursday, February 25th, 2010 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. CST. Topics will include current trends in the health of Kentucky’s children, environmental health disparities, ways to partner to enhance children’s health in your practice and community, especially in regards to the outdoors along with opportunities for questions and answers, tools and ideas to take back to your community, etc. The meeting will take place in the Visitor/Environmental Education Center auditorium.
The meeting was organized in response to a growing body of research that shows nature is essentially good for children. Per the Children and Nature Network (http://www.childrenandnature.org), the site serves as a focal point for gathering, studying and informing others of the need to better connect today’s children with nature. Whether it concerns citing author Richard Louv, author or the landmark book, “Last Child in the Woods” or publishing various research on the topic, the site seeks to remind us that “in the past 20 to 30 years, without most of us realizing what was happening, lifestyle changes have accumulated with powerful and pervasive detrimental effects on children. Obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder, impaired social skills and even what some, including Richard Louv, are calling a ‘culture of depression’ are adding to the stress levels and severely impacting our young. Those are physical and psycho-social characteristics of the changes. And then there is more—less time outdoors, more time with electronic technology, little free and unstructured time, and even a 30% decrease in bicycle riding…”
During the forum, the hatchery will serve as host for the following speakers:
Margaret Riggs, PhD, Epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Amanda Patrick, Environmental Education/Outreach Specialist, Wolf Creek NFH
Tracy Aaron, Director of Health Education, Lake Cumberland District Health Department
Jenny Howard, Environmental Education Specialist, Division for Water, Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection
Roberta Burnes, Environmental Education Specialist, Division for Air Quality, Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection
Dr. Christine Weyman, Medical Director, Lake Cumberland District Health Department
As the event is specifically geared towards physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, health education professionals, etc, any and all professionals in the healthcare field are encouraged to attend.
For more information on the subject of connecting children with nature, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Children and Nature” site at the following: http://www.fws.gov/children/backtonature.html. For further details for the February 25th, 2010 meeting, please contact Environmental Education/Outreach Specialist Amanda G. Patrick at 270-343-3797 or via email at: Amanda_Patrick@fws.gov