Albuquerque, NM – Ray Powell, Jane Goodall Institute and former Land Commissioner of New Mexico, spoke about youth and that they are disconnected from nature at the Xeriscape Landscape and Water Conservation Conference held in Albuquerque, NM. Mary Ellen Ryall, Shell Lake, of Happy Tonics, attended the conference.
Richard Louve wrote a book on this subject titled “The Last Child in the Woods.” Powell stated that the average youth spends 30 minutes outside each day. This time is not necessarily playtime but rather time it takes to walk to and from the car, bus or to ride a bike to and from school.
Youth environmental educators need to make a bridge for youth to grasp the message that it is their world that they are inheriting. Goodall says, “We have a choice to make use of our life and make the world a better place.” Considering that youth of today have become cynical, educators ned to understand the root causes, be compassionate, give hope and help youth feel empowered.
When communicating with youth, one needs to understand that 7 percent of what they understand is verbal, 38 percent is vocal tone and 55 percent is in body language. The message we are giving kids and they understand on an average of 50 percent is, “Do we care?”
Happy Tonics of Shell Lake plans to sponsor several youth environmental education opportunities this summer. Their goal is to change behavior from one of hopelessness to hope and to encourage youth to participate in healthy outdoor environmental education, activity, advocacy and action.