Why is this project important?
Many of us share the concern that our nation’s children are growing up estranged from the natural world, a problem that author Richard Louv has described as “nature deficit disorder” in his book Last Child in the Woods. Children who grow up without first-hand contact with and love for the natural world are unlikely to be eager to protect and defend our wilderness heritage as adults. There is no better place or organization to provide that contact than the US F&WS and our national wildlife refuges.
Educating our youth and instilling in them a love for nature is part of the mission of both the US F&WS and the Friends. Locally, our efforts have been hampered by a lack of a facility to handle large groups of children (school groups, scout groups, etc). F&WS has been receiving an increasing number of requests from such groups, but has needed to turn some down because of lack of space and other resources. The Kingfisher Discovery Center will provide such a facility and allow many more children to participate in educational activities.
“We need to get our kids away from their screens and into the green, finding wonder in the natural world. Today’s kids will be the rangers, the firefighters, the biologists, the birders, and the volunteers who will continue to cherish and preserve the refuge system long after we are gone.”
Photo by Rick Shields
Photo by Sharon Lindsay