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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 353

CBC addresses 'Nature Deficit Disorder'

American youngsters are increasingly using their thumbs to grasp a video game controller instead of a fishing pole or hiking staff. By some estimates, youngsters are spending 30 minutes a week in unstructured outdoor recreation and 14 hours playing video games.

How to address this “nature deficit disorder” was the theme of the California Biodiversity Council meeting Oct. 8-9 in Oakland. (text continues below)

 BLM-California Director Mike Pool, right, listens to Eron Sandler of the group Collective Roots discuss an organic gardening project in East Palo Alto.
Visitors tour an organic garden, with a tall clear dome in the background

Council members heard from a variety of organizations trying different approaches to involve youngsters with nature and from the youngsters themselves.

The California Biodiversity Council was formed in 1991 to improve coordination and cooperation between the various resource management and environmental protection organizations at federal, state, and local levels. Strengthening ties between local communities and governments has been a focus of the Council by way of promoting strong local leadership and encouraging comprehensive solutions to regional issues.

The Council has 42 members, including 20 state agencies, 12 federal agencies, and 10 local governments. It is chaired by California Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman and Bureau of Land Management California State Director Mike Pool.

Council members agreed there should be a student representative on the council and also agreed to sign the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger. Council members will work to foster regional partnerships such as one in Los Angeles County and identify perceived barriers to outdoor activities.

Staff from council agencies will meet later this year to discuss developing a website with a database of environmental education activities.

Mike Pool, center, chairs the CBC meeting in Oakland.
Mike Pool, center, in blue shirt, chairs the meeting in a large room

Mike Ayers, left, BLM recreation planner and Mike Pool discuss environmental education issues with Eron Sandler and Bryden Johnston from the group Collective Roots.
BLM recreation planner Mike Ayers, left, speaks with Eron Sandler, Bryden Johnston and Mike Pool

Participants in various programs to involve youth in nature took part in the meeting.
Attendees including Mike Pool applaud after a presenter makes a point

- D. Christy, 10/14/08

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 353

Last updated: 10-15-2008