60 Minutes a Day Earth Month Challenge Because, It’s Wild!
Americans Spend Hours in Front of Screens, Minutes Outdoors; ANS Issues Earth Month Challenge for DC to Go Wild for at Least an Hour a Day
For Immediate Release:April 6, 2018
For more information, contact Caroline Brewer, [email protected] or 202-830-5115
CHEVY CHASE, MD – The Audubon Naturalist Society is challenging the DC area to get up and go outside – for the fun of it! Researchers say Americans live the majority of their lives indoors, despite the well-documented benefits of being in nature and the wilderness. ANS wants to buck this “indoor species” trend by showcasing more than 30 of the region’s most beloved outdoor spaces and challenging the DMV to spend more time – at least an hour a day – in nature for pleasure. Because scientific studies say the great outdoors is good for the mind, body, spirit, and creativity, ANS is hopeful that spending at least 60 minutes connecting with nature will become habit-forming, for adults, as well as children, who, one leading researcher says, are outdoors fewer than seven minutes a day, on average.
Fueled by the slogan, “Wild Places Are Closer than You Think. Follow Me!” the goal of the #ANSEarthMonth challenge is get people to visit outdoor spaces in the DMV, such as Rock Creek Park, Great Falls, the National Arboretum, Dumbarton Oaks, ANS’s Woodend and Rust nature sanctuaries, and the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where Harriet Tubman grew up. (Download the ANS Earth Month Locations PDF)
Tubman and Henry David Thoreau are inspirations for the new campaign because of their extraordinary connections to nature. As for the modern-day benefits of being outdoors, here are a few facts:
- Exposure to trees, the sky and birdsong is beneficial for mental wellbeing of city dwellers.
- Memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent an hour interacting with nature.
- Parents say their 8 to 12-year-old children spend three times as many hours with computers and TVs each week as they do playing outside.
- More than half of adults spend 5 hours or less a week outdoors.
- Time spent outdoors can relieve chronic conditions so more doctors and health care providers are actually prescribing nature through a national initiative called Parks Rx.
- Increasing time spent outdoors may reduce the risk of developing nearsightedness in children.
About ANS: ANS is the oldest, independent environmental organization in the DMV. Throughout its history, ANS has played a pivotal role in conserving our region’s iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS’s nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.