The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) wants your kids to go take a hike. On February 3, the NWF launched the Be Out There campaign, an initiative designed to encourage families to engage in more unstructured outdoor physical activity. “Today’s release of the citizen’s petition and organizational sign-on letter marks the formation of a massive, diverse community, partnering around the common goal of getting America’s families healthy again and reconnected with nature,” stated NWF executive director Rebecca Garland.

The press release added that “today’s children have had less contact with nature than any other generation in human history. The average American child now spends 7 hours 38 minutes plugged in per day. That’s 53 hours per week watching electronic media—more than the equivalent of a full-time workweek.” The organization hopes U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, will support the initiative and urge children to log out, unplug and “Be Out There.” To learn more about the campaign, visit www.beoutthere.org/resolution.

Other efforts to encourage a healthy relationship between children and the natural world include the No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI), which passed the House of Representatives in September 2008. This legislation, if passed into law, would encourage environmental education both outside and inside the classroom. Supporters are hopeful that NCLI will be included in the current administration’s overhaul of No Child Left Behind. To find out more about NCLI, see http://edlabor.house.gov/no-child-left-inside-act/index.shtml.