In his 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods,” author Richard Louv coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder”which refers to the alleged trend that children are spending less time outdoors.
Fortunately for kids and their families that live in the region, there are plenty of opportunities and locations to get outside and enjoy nature. And Great Outdoors Week is the perfect opportunity to shake off the winter chills and get moving again.
The 10th annual Great Outdoors Week will be held this year from Friday, May 13 to Sunday, May 22. Five major events, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, National Bike to Work Day, Learn to Row and Paddle, Venture Outdoors Festival and Pedal Pittsburgh are among the more than 60 events planned by local organizations throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.
One of the plusses of GOW is that children and adults of any skill level, from novices to pros, can get a lot out of the activities planned. Many of the activities are free or low-cost, and some do not require any pre-registration.
“Many Great Outdoors Week events serve as a safe and easy introduction to kid-friendly activities here,” said Ginette Walker Vinski of Sustainable Pittsburgh, the group that coordinates Great Outdoors Week with the help of a network of outdoor recreation partners.
“Allowing kids time to play in nature is greatly important to their health and development. Utilization of our natural resources, like our trails, waterways and parks, helps kids develop a sense of respect and value for these places.”
In 2008, Sustainable Pittsburgh and its partners launched Walls are Bad, a campaign designed to increase awareness and participation in the many outdoor recreation activities available in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Find out more at WallsAreBad.com
A mother and daughter paddle along the Ohio River at last
year’s Venture Outdoors Festival. Kids and adults alike can learn
how to kayak, fish and more at this year’s festival, held on May 21
at Point State Park. (Photo courtesy Cara Rufenacht, Venture Outdoors)