by Tigran Nahabedian, OAK Advisor
Time in nature teaches important lessons and skills, and is vital to our children’s development. But right now, access to parks and public lands is not equal across our communities, and climate change is increasingly affecting the green spaces we do have. One hundred million people in the US – including 28 million kids – cannot walk to a park from their homes. This is the so-called “nature equity gap.” The disadvantages resulting from deprivation from nature are no less serious than illiteracy for future success; imagine living in fear of the outdoors or never learning to swim.
Tell Congress that every community deserves equitable access to nature so they can truly thrive.
Send your message to Congress now!
Junior Ranger Tigran Nahabedian | Photo Courtesy of Tigran Nahabedian
|I visited Channel Islands National Park for the first time when I was five years old. During that trip, one of the park naturalists gave me a Junior Ranger book, and I was hooked. It was one of the best days of my life and it inspired my life-long love of nature and our public lands.
Even though I went to a school that promoted getting outside and camping, none of my friends had heard of Channel Islands or the Junior Ranger program! It astounded me that so many kids didn’t know about national parks or what was even in their own backyards. From that moment on, I made it my mission to improve outdoor access for kids like me.
Now I need your help! Congress is considering several bills that are critical to expand outdoor access and help kids experience the benefits of nature. We need to make it clear to Congress that our youth MUST be able to access and make connections with nature!
I know firsthand that places like the Channel Islands National Park (with some of the earliest human remains in North America), Manassas National Battlefield, the Statue of Liberty, Belmont-Paul House, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and Manzanar National Historic Site (which serves as a cautionary tale of allowing our American ideals to slip), and so many more are symbols of our history.
Our public lands are places where we can preserve the cultures, histories, and traditions of the communities connected to these places. That is why we need to call on Congress to help get more kids and families outdoors!
My one wish is that every child has the RIGHT to explore the country’s public lands and make the connections with nature that have helped define my life. I truly believe this would not only benefit kids themselves, but also our nation as a whole. There is no better way to learn about history and what makes our country and public lands unique than by going out there and seeing them firsthand.
We need to tell Congress to close the nature equity gap so that more kids can experience the benefits and beauty of nature!
Thank you for all you do,
Advisor, Outdoors Alliance for Kids
Junior Ranger, National Parks Ambassador, and Board Member for the Channel Islands Park Foundation