Families able to connect, learn about the environment with Kids in Nature Day :: WRAL.com
Raleigh, NC – Hundreds of families headed to Williamson Nature Preserve on Sunday to learn and connect with nature.
The inaugural Kids in Nature event was put on at the park by South Wake Conservationists, a local chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation.
The event aimed for kids, especially in elementary and middle school, to be able to get a hands-on experience with the outside world. The organizers said the goal was to “generate excitement and inspiration in the kids.”
“I’ve been feeling like it’s adults and older adults doing this,” said South Wake Conservationists President Monty Moree. “It’s like wait a minute. What about the next generation? We need to get them involved.”
The event, which was originally scheduled for Saturday and moved to Sunday because of the potential of rain, featured 14 exhibits from “first-class organizations in the conservation field,” Moree said, including the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and Wake Audubon.
Kids had the opportunity to touch and feel the fur of natural and naturalized animals living in North Carolina, play an interactive game explaining bird migration and go on a nature scavenger hunt.
“The natural world is so important, and so, we’re trying to re-connect the next generation to understanding the importance of it and how fun it can be out in nature and to do stuff in nature and learn about all the interesting plants. and animals and also to protect our plants, “said Moree.
Moree said it’s important to teach the world’s youngest generation about how crucial nature is because it’s “the only planet we have.”
“We’re reducing the diversity of wildlife. We’ve reduced the number of species in by half in the insect world in the last hundred years. It’s a major reduction in plant and animal diversity.”
That reduction has a domino effect in society, too.
“Without the diversity, a plant cannot regenerate and recover from other kinds of events that may happen naturally, so eventually the species go away,” said Moree. “Like if you lose certain plants, there’s certain insects that can’t survive anymore. If you lose those insects, there’s certain birds that can’t survive. It kind of goes up the chain to the apex predators.”
“It’s really important that everybody understands the importance of respecting nature and co-existing with it as opposed to paving it over and building digital worlds,” he added.
Moree said there was so much interest however in Saturday’s event, the organization had to apply to signup. But, organizers are hoping to make it an annual event.
In the meantime, families are encouraged to join the South Wake Conservationists’ Eco Kids program. The program was started in 2021 and features day hikes, scavenger hunts and classes for students.