Youth Voices: The Outdoors And People

Sweepstakes Winner
Emmanuel O., 5th Grade, Falls Church, VA
All Kids Outdoors Scholastic-OAK Youth Essay Contest
Youth Voices Blog Series

The Outdoors And People

The great outdoor spaces, aren’t they beautiful? An outdoor space is any place outside a living space where people can interact, play, and relax. This includes the backyards of homes, playgrounds for kids, sidewalks, biking trails, community parks, nature reserves, national parks, waterfronts or beaches, and farmlands. Some of my favorite outdoor spaces are lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, woodlands, parks, bike and walk trails, and beaches. I think that outdoor spaces are important because it improves a person’s life and wellbeing.

Ont thing that is true about nature is that, being outdoors can calma person down, and relieve stress. Paul Dudley White, of the Tyee Outdoor Experience LLP, said, “Time spent outdoors boosts concentration (even those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD), improves creative thinking, decreases negative thinking and stress, and can even wake you up as well as a cup of coffee. And all for free! That is about the best medical plan I know.” This quotation shows that being outdoors can help a person relieve stress. Being in nature, peoples minds are opened to a beautiful world, and finally help them to relax. It can also help people with ADHD walk-off and release extra energy they stored up inside. Being outside can wake someone up, since that person is exposed to fresh air and daylight while walking, jogging, running, or biking. It is true that their body systems start to get active and therefore, wake up. Creative thinking is boosted, as well. When a person is outside, they get to experience many things like trees, plants, animals, fungi, and other things that are in nature. These help them to think about new things or ideas that could help their work, home, and relationship with other people. This is why many towns, cities, and communities are building parks and educating people on outdoor activities, so that they can enjoy healthy living.

Original Artwork by Emmanuel O.

Another reason that the outdoors are important is because people recognize the beauty of nature. Many people enjoy hiking in the woods to appreciate the beauty of nature, and use it for exercising. Some people like the colors of tree leaves and flowering plants. Others, have a distinct respect for nature and the outdoors. For example, springtime in Washington, D.C. is a remarkable period because of the cherry blossoms in the historic mall. People from all over the nation, tourists from other countries, come to the nation’s capital to see the cherry blossoms in their beautiful colors. Tour Guides tell people how the Japanese emperor donated those trees to the United States of America as a sign of friendship and peace after the second world war. The cherry blossoms in D.C. has now become a good outdoor tourist attraction and a symbol of international relationship between two important countries. According to John Muir, “in every walk with nature, one receives more than he seeks.” This important man, also called “father of the National Parks’, was a naturalist who advocated for the preservation of wilderness in the United States of America. Some of the national parks, such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the Shenandoah Valley, have become places for tourists, hikers, and campers. In particular, the Shenandoah Sky Ride, in the fall of every year, gives people the wonderful opportunity to see the changing colors of leaves on trees and plants. Many people have been inspired to write books and poems after seeing the beauty of fall in the Shenandoah Valley. As can be seen now, outdoor spaces are special, because it helps people to admire and enjoy nature.

My personal experience with outdoors, started with my parents taking me to play outside in our backyard and front yard for recreation. My parents also took me to playgrounds where I played with other kids, and learned to run, climb, and slide. Our family has also toured several national parks such as Mount Washington in New Hampshire and the Virginia Shenandoah Valley. I remember an amazing and unforgettable experience of being at the peak of Mount Washington, which is literally so high and immersed in the clouds, that I felt the wetness of the clouds floating by. I have also been to lots of parks for fishing in lakes and ponds, but none compares to my family’s trip to Virginia Beach. I went saltwater fishing with my dad using bloodworms. It was as if this bait was magically attractive to the Croaker fish that, each time I cast my line in the water, took the bait. I ended up catching eleven fishes that day. I was overjoyed and satisfied, because it was the most number of fishes I had ever caught in a single fishing trip. That remains my personal saltwater fishing record, for now. So, these personal experiences remind me of the joy, benefits and satisfaction that comes from the outdoors.

Even though the outdoors are beautiful and all, there are some things about it I don’t like. For example, I don’t like the biting insects, or being outside in the raid, and sweltering heat. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like going outside because it is uncomfortable to walk long distances with my dad. I also don’t like it when there are storms, or when  have to do garden work for long periods of time. I know people who are afraid of going to the woods, because they think that wild animals will attack them. Also, some people are afraid of being stung by a bee or wasp. But, wild animals and stinging insects will only attack or harm someone when they are provoked or angered. Besides that, an unprovoked attack happens very rarely, and under specific conditions, such as when a creature is stressed. This means that people should still be able to enjoy the outdoors anytime, if they take the necessary precautions.

I believe that people appreciate the beauty of nature and the outdoors when they experience them. So, the common saying that ‘the taste of pudding is in the eating’ is true. In conclusion, some of the benefits that the outdoors offer people include relieving stress, improving creative thinking, and increasing a person’s alertness. The outdoors is appreciated by people around the world, as I have experienced the beauty of the outdoors in my own personal life. So, why not go outside today and have some fun? You will appreciate it! Trust me.

Published by Jackie Ostfeld, OAK Chair

My name is Jackie Ostfeld. I am the co-founder and Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids and the Director of Sierra Club's Outdoors for All campaign. I am an advocate for connecting kids with nature. Views are my own.

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