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Importance of Outdoor Time for Kids Topic of April 23 Presentation

RELEASED: April 17, 2009

kids swingingEAU CLAIRE —The National Wildlife Federation's vice president for strategic communications will talk about the importance of children spending time outdoors when she leads a discussion this month at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Jennifer Jones' presentation, "Unplug Your Kids: The Importance of Outdoor Time," will run from 4-5:30 p.m. April 23 in Davies Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. 

"The National Wildlife Federation recommends that parents give their children what they call a 'green hour' every day, a time for them to be outside interacting with nature," said Dr. Kate Hale, UW-Eau Claire's Sustainability Fellow. "In her presentation, Jennifer Jones will talk about the importance of giving kids unstructured play time outdoors."

While today's parents may remember days spent playing outdoors, their kids are often so overscheduled that they don't have that same kind of unstructured time to interact with nature, Hale said. Television and other electronics also take up a significant part of children's days, she said, noting that a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the average American child spends 44 hours a week in front of some type of electronic screen.

"A variety of research shows that children who spend significant amounts of time playing outdoors are healthier than those kids who spend their time indoors," Hale said. "The kids who play outdoors play more creatively, have less stress, more active imaginations, are more fit, develop stronger immune systems, experience fewer symptoms of ADHD, and have a greater respect for themselves, other and the environment."

The April 23 presentation will be sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire Sustainability Fellow and the Chancellor's Office.

For more information, call Kate Hale at 715-836-2761.

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JB

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