Wild Child Initiative

In 2016, MMLT launched its “Wild Child Initiative” with the goal to offer opportunities for children to visit our wild natural places. With assistance from a grant from the Perth & District Community Foundation, local youth clubs visited Blueberry Mountain and High Lonesome Nature Reserve. The Children’s Place Day Care Centre also spent a day of outdoor adventures at High Lonesome. Local children’s author Jan Andrews, recently awarded the Order of Canada, read from her book The Twelve Days of Summer to a group of children who then explored the trails of High Lonesome to find the flora and fauna described in the book. These activities are just the beginning of what we hope will be a very successful ongoing emphasis in our outdoor education programs.

Research shows that among predictors of human health – physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual – engagement in nature activities is critically important. In the past, kids were sent outside to play until the street lights came on, exploring nearby ravines and forests, climbing trees, cliffs, slithering into caves, frequently housing live critters in pockets, happily arriving home dirty or muddy, occasionally with cuts and bruises and clothes that needed re-patching. Today children, either assigned or by choice, spend most of their time indoors. Activities are usually highly organized and structured, under close adult supervision. Children are being denied the opportunity to connect freely with the natural world, and all the fun, wonder, and benefits that come from that experience. Parents and those holding special places of influence in the child’s life must rewild themselves as well – for their own well-being and that of their children. MMLT has the perfect environments for these unstructured outdoor activities.

We have recently partnered with our local Health Unit in their Healthy Communities Program.  They have produced an excellent video about the powerful role of nature in healthy child growth and development.  MMLT President Howard Clifford is featured in the video.