09 June 2011

New PSAs urge parents and their children to reconnect with nature

The Ad Council and the USDA Forest Service will launch a series of PSAs that will urge kids and their parents to get off the couch and enjoy the great outdoors.

The ads will be unveiled June 11, which coincidentally is also National Get Outdoors Day, at Kingman Island by Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Tom Tidwell.

“Parents play an important role in encouraging children to get outside in nature,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Our campaign with the Ad Council aims to re-connect families to nature by encouraging them to break free from their daily routines and experience the forest first hand. This gives families the ability to explore and engage in adventurous play, instilling in children a love for nature and fosters a sense of stewardship for the environment and our public lands.”

The PSAs will encourage viewers to visit www.DiscoverTheForest.org (or the Spanish version DescubreElBosque.org). Both websites feature an interactive Google powered map tool that allows visitors to search for nearby parks and forests in addition to downloadable activities that can be used during their outdoor exploration.

Sounds fantastic but isn’t it interesting that people in current times need prodding to get off their derrieres and go outside?

In my day—I can’t believe I just typed that—summer meant playing outdoors all day long. Now it seems children stay indoors the majority of the time playing videogames, texting, chatting and watching TV. And the numbers back up that prior statement.

According to the USDA Forest Service and the Ad Council children spend 50% less time outdoors than they did 20 years ago. Additionally research reveals that children who leave the computer friendly confines of home to play outside have a “reduced risk for obesity, lower stress levels, more active imaginations and they’re more likely to become environmentally conscious adults.”

"It goes without saying, the world of electronics pervades all our lives more than ever," says Rob Slosberg, Partner and Creative Director at Turbine, the ad firm that designed the PSAs pro bono. "This campaign encourages parents to unplug and bring your kids to the forest to experience all the wonders of nature."

Before you unplug though, check out the following links for more information facebook.com/DiscoverTheForest, YouTube.com/DiscoverTheForest and twitter.com/cheecker.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/axel-d