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PNS Daily Newscast - August 14, 2020 


Trump rebuffs Biden's call for a national mask mandate; nurses warn of risks of in-person school.


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Oregon’s Summer Stress Antidote – ‘Go Play Outside’

June 4, 2008

Portland, OR – Some people remember Oregon summers when kids spent all day playing outside – but in many areas, those days are gone. A new report from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) confirms what anyone with kids or grandkids already suspected: Today's youngsters spend only half as much time outdoors as children did in past generations.

The NWF believes a side effect of what some call "nature deficit disorder" is that kids grow up without much awareness or appreciation of their natural surroundings. In response, the organization is launching the "Green Hour" campaign to show families that it's easy and worthwhile to commit to spending one hour a day outdoors. The benefits include getting exercise and fresh air, as well as learning about the environment.

Ann Biklé, education manager for the NWF Western Region, says the busier people are, the more they need a "Green Hour."

"It's some decompression time. When you get away from the scheduling and the rigidity of the day and just let your mind and your body relax for awhile, you find that when you go back to the structured, scheduled stuff, you're actually feeling refreshed."

Kevin Coyle, vice president of education for NWF, explains safety is another reason the campaign suggests that parents and caregivers be part of kids' "Green Hour" activities. He acknowledges that times have changed, and parents are smart to be concerned about children's safety in public parks and other outdoor areas. But, he observes, the risks are just as great indoors.

"The child who's online has a one-in-five chance of communicating directly with a sexual predator. It's actually, in our opinion, more dangerous for a kid online than it is outdoors."

To Biklé, it's ironic to have to give spending time outdoors a name and set a one-hour goal. But if that's what it takes to get people off their couches and out of their offices, she says, the effort will be worth it. Families who spend most of their time indoors could discover that "easing out" - one hour at a time - pays off with unexpected summer pleasures.

"Green Hour" activities needn't be complicated or expensive, she adds. They can be as simple as taking a walk or a swim, gardening or volunteering for tree planting or neighborhood litter cleanup. More "Green Hour" ideas are available online at www.GreenHour.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR