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Autumn's approach

The process of the ongoing, national "denaturalization" has been well established. It was documented in Richard Louv's bestseller, Last Child in the Woods.

This gradual erosion of our national outdoor ethic was eventually ascribed in medical terminology. It has been called, "nature deficit disorder."

In Michigan, a pediatric clinic now provides a prescription to combat childhood obesity. The prescribed treatment requires parents to get their children to spend more time outdoors. The 'script,' which can be filled at a local nature center, provides documentation of the frequency and duration of the children's visits.

Louv claims that he had to ascribe a medical term to the affliction in order to get anybody to pay attention. Fortunately, his efforts have worked! Today the Child & Nature Network is a viable national and international organization that has spawned a resurgence of interest in outdoor play.

Despite numerous claims that there has been a serious downturn in traditional outdoor sports, hunting currently remains almost as popular as it was in the 1950's. In fact, a recent national survey found that 87 percent of all American adults believe that hunting and shooting sports are as acceptable as golf or tennis.

An estimated 7-9 percent of the US population regularly participates in hunting and currently, women represent the fastest growing segment of this group.

Additionally, more than 50 percent of survey participants under 29 years of age claimed they would be receptive to hunt if a friend invited them. This is a very encouraging development in terms of hunter recruitment efforts. The sport would benefit from increased participation, and so will the youth.

In contrast, research indicates that fewer than 3 percent of American adults actually adhere to an animal rights philosophy.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

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