, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 14, 2014

Film looks at kids' need to explore outdoors

NEWBURYPORT — Why do children need unstructured time outside? The documentary film “Mother Nature’s Child: Growing Outdoors in the Media Age” explores this question and others, as it addresses nature’s role in child development from toddler to teen.

Greenbelt, Essex County’s Land Trust, and Merrohawke Nature School (formerly BOATCAMP Nature School) will show the film on Thursday July 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport.

A short facilitated discussion will follow the 57-minute film.

The film makes a strong case for raising children to be more connected to nature.

“Modern childhood has moved indoors, and for the first time ever, this generation of children are expected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents,” said Kate Yeomans, executive director of Merrowhawke Nature School. “To grow to be healthy adults, children need—and deserve—lots of time outdoors to develop their own curiosity, creativity, and agility. The health benefits of time in nature cannot be understated, and this film offers a compelling perspective on the priceless value of ensuring kids have lots of time outside as an essential balance to the high-tech, often inside world that we live in.”

Both Greenbelt and Merrowhawke share a commitment to encouraging outdoor exploration. Greenbelt has conserved thousands of acres of land that are open to the public free of charge, from dawn to dusk.

Together, Greenbelt and Merrowhawke are raising funds to permanently protect a property that Merrowhawke uses as an outdoor classroom: Four Rock & Devil’s Den in Newbury. Once it is protected, Greenbelt will own and manage the property as part of its region-wide reservation system.

The acquisition will also allow Merrowhawke to create a sustainable home for its expanded nature-based programs, where the next generation of environmental stewards can grow up, exploring its fields, forests and caves.

For more information contact Greenbelt at or 978-768-7241.

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