Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why We Flash Nature and More to Help Share the Importance of the Outdoors

Why we flash nature, perspective on the cover of National Geographic magazine.

The love for the outdoors and exploration and adventure comes from a deep place my family. It’s sort of like part of our family’s DNA, our blood, our history, our family lore, and when we’re lucky now, it’s part of our everyday lives.

The more I slow down to take the time to ask my wise uncles and aunties about my family history, the more I hear about a dashing and daring Great Uncle who climbed this and pioneered that and then there's that Great Auntie who drove ambulances and saved lives during a world war when it just wasn’t acceptable for women to do so.

Have you taken a moment to poke around in your own family history?

I do wonder what legacy I’ll leave someday in the exploration, adventure, outdoor department. I’ve been enjoying, conquering, and galavanting about on mountains and lakes and summits and ski trails my whole life. However, the pull towards advocacy beyond sharing adventures and small moments of giving-back is getting even stronger. Especially after reading headlines from articles such as National Geographic’s latest magazine hitting stands October 2016 about “the selfie generation” getting back outside. 

Although social media is exposing the younger generation to the epic gorgeousness of remote and far-flung parks and wilderness, there’s a concern and statistics show that this younger, more diverse population is just not getting outside in the same numbers as previous generations.

So while we worry that apps such as Instagram are creating a crush of over-used trails and campsites in certain popular parks, the truth is that we need to continue to spread the word about the power of the outdoors and and share other more diverse, special, outdoor places with other more diverse communities. This while also continuing to work on implementing careful management of the “over-loved” places like the headline trails in Yosemite, Zion and Yellowstone.

I’m deeply connected to a family who cares about the outdoors and I now have a passionate group of friends, and I suppose I can happily call them “outdoor colleagues”, I myself have made over social media over the last few years. And it is exciting to see the power we all have to share that passion on grassroots level within our own groups of friends and communities, but also as an effective, larger tribe when we put our heads together with the massive reach that social media can give us. We can influence change.

And finally, what would my grandparents, who ran an overnight, all-boys, summer camp in New England based around nature and the outdoors have thought of the photo of five women standing shirtless on the edge of a gorgeous alpine lake in Glacier National Park donning the cover of the iconic National Geographic magazine? 

Well, I bet they’d understand that to capture the energy and power that this younger generation brings to the table these days and to grab that gen’s interest in helping foster a love and a desire to protect these places, we do what we need to do. Flashing approved.

Follow me on twitter for live conversation @OutdoorsyMama


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Spending Time in The Outdoors One of the Secrets to the Happiest Places on Earth #outfam

What does one of the happiest places on Earth know that we don't? Getting outside in nature is vital. 

Denmark is known for being one of the happiest countries on our beautiful Earth. What strikes me as I watch a new film just launching now called NaturePlay isn’t what the educators from Denmark are saying. I’ve heard before that outdoor time and time playing in nature is good for us and especially for kids as they develop into healthy creatures. 

What stands out this time in this movie is the breadth of Denmark’s commitment to embracing, as a culture, this way of life and specifically developing adventure parks in cities and educational programs nationwide with this inclusion of nature into their children’s everyday lives. The people in Denmark know from a personal and public health level that for the wellbeing of not just that child, but of their society as a whole, it’s important to focus resources on the seemingly simple, but often overlooked, concept of Nature Play.

And this is the BOOM of this film.

At the end of the film, there is a cameo from Matt Damon, the Hollywood movie star, who speaks at a rally for Save Our Schools about too much testing and not enough Nature Play in the schools in America. His points are poignant: none of the qualities that got him to where he is today can be “tested” and every kid is an individual puzzle, not a robot to be fit into a standardized test.

If you are curious to learn more about “NaturePlay - Take Childhood Back” or would like to set up a screening of the film in your community or school, find more information here.

Healthy society. Healthy planet. Healthy children. Let’s play in nature.




Disclaimer: The NaturePlay film was sent to me without cost for screening. All opinions are always and forever shall be my own.