RATIONALE 2018-02-02T16:45:13+00:00

Overwhelming evidence shows that young people who spend more time outdoors are healthier, happier, and more productive.

Take a Hike!

Previous generations took for granted the physical and psychological benefits of getting outside. They didn’t do it because it was prescribed as a healthy trend. It was simply a natural part of living. Today’s young people are growing up in a time where going outside is almost unnatural. It’s time to make going outside natural again.

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Minutes Per Year Young People Spend on Devices and Screens.
Minutes Per Year Young People Spend Playing Outside.
Acres of Park and Playground Land in the U.S.
Number of Obese Young People in the U.S.

Health and Wellness Impact

Everyone knows that time spent outdoors can be healthy, but most people don’t realize how important nature is for the development of a young person’s body and mind.

Reduced Effects of NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder)

In his best-selling book, The Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv brought national attention to NDD, referring to the negative impacts that occur when children don’t spend enough time doing outdoor activities.

Improves ADHD

Spending time outdoors connecting with nature significantly reduces symptoms of attention deficit disorder in young people.

Fights Depression and SAD

Access to outdoor recreation and playtime greatly reduces depression and SAD among young people (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Reduces Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease

Overall obesity rates are 41% lower in young people who regularly spend time enjoying outdoor recreation activities.

Provides Critical Nutrition

Exposure to the sun and fresh air along with exercise that comes from outdoor recreation provides valuable nutrients like Vitamin D and antioxidants.

More Energy and Improved Metabolism

A University of Rochester study found that 20 minutes outside provides as much energy boost as a cup of coffee.

Improved Intellectual Development

Play in nature is especially important for developing cognitive processes, driving creativity, improving focus, and expanding problem-solving skills.

Improves Eyesight

Studies show that young people who spend more time outdoors are less likely to suffer from myopia (nearsightedness).

More Happy, Less Stress

Scientific research indicates that that regular access to the great outdoors significantly reduces stress and creates a feeling of serenity and happiness in children (and adults).

Social-Emotional Impact

Today’s young people are often exposed to negative influences. Discover how outdoor recreational activities provide a strong positive influence on young people through social-emotional development and how this affects the communities in which they live.

Spending Time Outdoors Reinforces Positive Behavior

Today’s young people tend to have fewer recreational options, which may contribute to negative behavior. Providing students with safe access to outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and kayaking helps nurture positive behavior.

Reduced Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Young people who participate in safe outdoor recreational activities are 49% less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than students who do not participate (U.S. Dep Health and Human Services).

Decreased Teen Pregnancy

Young people who participate in safe outdoor recreational activities are 37% less likely to become teen parents than students who do not participate (U.S. Dep Health and Human Services).

Critical Outreach Timing

Over 94% of first time offenders are between the ages of 15-18. This figure illustrates the importance of youth participation in recreational activities and outdoor programs at an early age.

Academic Performance

Studies show improved cognitive processes and problem solving skills occur in young people who receive regular exposure to outdoor recreational activities. This has a positive affect on academic performance with an overall increase in test scores of up to 27%. Increased academic skills align with well adjusted social-emotional development.

Improves Social-Emotional Skills

Research indicates that regular access to nature and the outdoors improves mood, cooperation, self- control, and self-discipline among young people.

Economic Impact

Students who do better in school and lead more productive lives also contribute to their local economy.


According to the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, global ecosystem services are worth at least $33 Trillion. Providing young people access to outdoor recreation activities allows them to recognize the value of our natural resources and helps ensure conservation for future generations.

Positive Contribution

Students who regularly spend time enjoying the outdoors tend to have better cognitive abilities and focus, which allows them to do better in school and in the workplace, resulting in a net positive contribution to the local, state, and national tax base.

Student Stimulus

When calculating taxpayer cost to produce a new high school graduate, taxpayers get a return on investment of about $127,000 per graduate over there lifetime. That’s over $4 billion counting students currently enrolled in Cincinnati (CPS) high schools.

Recreation ROI

Investing $1 in student recreational programs saves taxpayers $3 through reduced expenditures on social programs such as government funded health and correctional services, creating a net decrease in taxpayer burden (Rose Institute).

Outdoor Opportunity

Outdoor recreation in Ohio generates $17.4 billion in consumer spending, $5.1 billion in wages, and 196,000 jobs. Connecting young people with nature creates awareness of job and business opportunities related to the outdoor recreation industry.


The business of nature is exploding. Biomimicry, biofuel, biomedicine, and biotechnology are just a few ways in which business meets nature. Students who connect with nature are compelled to find career paths inspired by nature.

Environmental Impact

Our natural resources are limited and depleting at a rapid pace. It’s up to future generations to solve the problems of today.

Decent Exposure

Youth experiences in natural spaces are strong predictors of adult use and attitudes toward natural spaces. In order to create environmentally conscious adults, we need to expose young people to the outdoors at an early age.  

Learn to Appreciate

Studies show that recreational activities set in nature leave young people with a greater appreciation and concern for the natural environment and its conservation. Because of their participation, they are more likely to recognize the value of natural ecosystems and take action to preserve them.

Tipping Point

Many environmental tipping points are set to occur in the next few years including climate change, animal and habitat extinction, and energy consumption. Today’s youth must develop a better understanding of the environmental issues facing Ohio and beyond.

More Footprints, Less Footprint

Young people who participate in outdoor recreational programs learn important values like how to minimize their carbon footprint. Creating this awareness forms constructive habits in young people as they become good stewards and advocates of the environment and its resources.

Crossing Boundaries

Being mindful of nature and its resources is something that crosses all political, social, and geographical boundaries.  By spending time outdoors, young people will gain their own perspective on what it means to be environmentally aware and they can build their own assumptions about our natural resources.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Spending time outdoors allows young people to realize the beauty and benefits of the natural environment. By sharing their experiences with parents and teachers, young people gain a positive voice that will help adjust education to be more directed towards environmental agendas.

Who Cares?

Why should anyone care if kids spend more time outdoors?

Why Parents Should Care

  • Young people spend less time outdoors than any other time in history.

  • The inherent health related issues from sedentary, indoor lifestyles is affecting our children.

  • Connecting with nature has proven benefits to young people and the communities in which they live.

  • Spending time outdoors is a great way to reconnect with our children.

  • By passing along good stewardship to our children, we are ensuring a better future.

Why Cincinnati Should Care

  • The tax and social services benefit derived from supporting programs that lead to increased graduation is a reality.

  • If we want to provide local students the opportunity to become productive members of society we need to support activities that foster positive behavior.

  • The Greater Cincinnati area has a vibrant outdoor recreation economy that must be sustained through continued support of future generations.

  • Now is the time to help young people connect with nature so they can develop good stewardship towards the area’s natural resources.

Why Everyone Should Care

  • Whether we like it or not, we live in a global economy that is unconditionally tied to the common natural resources we all share.

  • Helping our young people develop skills and experiences that can lead to a better life is a common goal for everyone.

  • Maintaining our natural resources is everyone’s burden to bear regardless of race, religion, income, education, political affiliation, or geography.

  • Improving the world around you can only be accomplished by taking action and leading by example.

Please Donate Today

Just $12 a month covers activities for one student for the entire school year. Your donation can make a difference.