- Dear Abby
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Quick - name a favorite summer time memory. Family fishing trips, catching fireflies, shoreline campfires, star-gazing, bicycle jaunts, long hikes and body surfing may jump to mind.
For so many of us, our sunniest summer memories focus on nature and the outdoors. Let's hope this remains so for current and future generations of children who now sometimes seem far more connected to video games and the Internet than to outdoor exploration.
It's been nine years since Richard Louv's groundbreaking book "Last Child in the Woods" was published. In it, Mr. Louv made a convincing case that an increasing disconnect between children and nature correlates not only to the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, but also to the increase in emotional and psychological conditions such as attention deficit disorder and depression.
Soon after Louv's book was published, Connecticut launched its "No Child Left Inside" initiative. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection program continues to entice families to connect with all things wild, wiggly and wonderful. As another summer launches, it's a great time to peek at the DEEP website and review some options for outdoor adventures large and small. There's something for all: simple activities such as walking, swimming and listening to birds; old-time favorites such as camping and hiking; and contemporary pursuits such as letterboxing. Even better is the fact that public libraries have passes available that provide free access to state parks - take advantage of them.
Families in southeastern Connecticut are fortunate so many safe and varied outdoor options are accessible to them. Great beaches, parks and campgrounds, along with local playgrounds, picnic areas and nature trails abound.
Don't let yourself, or your children, waste these precious long days and warm months preoccupied with electronic devices and incessant texting and social networking.
Get outdoors and network with nature. It's the stuff of summertime memories.