Recently the North Star Chapter co-sponsored a screening of the documentary Play Again with the Holistic Moms Network Twin Cities Chapter. In the film, 6 teenagers leave behind the virtual world and experience their first wilderness adventure. The teens in the film previously spent between 6-15 or more hours a day using cell phones, computers, watching TV and playing video games. As their first time in the wilderness, the teens marveled at being disconnected from their cell phones, worried that their tent might blow over and sometimes missed home, but they also recognized the deep sense of peace and tranquility of spending time in nature.
The film, Play Again, portrays the teen’s limited access to nature. After enjoying their time in nature, when the teens returned home, they seemed unsure of how to access nature in their urban environment – a challenge that is exacerbated by a lack of time and resources. It is true that nature can be more difficult to find in our urban environments. However, although maybe not considered “wild,” there are opportunities to explore the natural environment all around us.
It is our goal here at the Sierra Club to provide that opportunity for all people. The Sierra Club focuses on youth through our Inner City Outings Program (ICO). We strive to provide access to the environment for urban youth from low-income communities as well as opportunities to help young people discover new interests while building self-confidence. ICO leads outings into the surrounding Twin Cities to demonstrate ways to access natural areas through public transportation, as well as longer outings beyond the Twin Cities such as camping on the North Shore. We hope that exploring and learning about the natural environment will encourage stewardship of the earth.
If you’d like to be a part of this important conversation, join the MN ICO at its new volunteer kick-off event on July 10 at 7:30. Check out details on our web site and Facebook. All past, present, and new volunteers are welcome – hope to see you there!
Anne Marie Buron is a volunteer leader and summer intern with the North Star Chapter’s Inner City Outings program.