When many of us were children, we played outside. An empty lot was anything but empty. It could become anything in our imaginations. Some of us grew up with woods nearby; others grew up in the city. But many of us were allowed to go out and explore on our own.
Opie’s World: Tap Into Nature was created to help get today’s kids outside to experience nature unplugged. Children are exposed to nature programs on television, but those do not show a realistic picture of the natural world. Film makers concentrate on high drama scenes. When a child goes outside after seeing non-stop action, they expect that to happen around them. They need to be taught how to observe animals in their environment. And many children grow up expecting to see animals from faraway lands in their own backyards. When asked what animals they expected to see in a small, freshwater stream near the Whitney Water Center in Hamden, Connecticut, the children responded, “sharks” and “whales.”
Opie is a cartoon opossum. His mission is to get adults – parents, grandparents and caregivers – to take children out to natural areas and help children develop that sense of wonder about the natural world that is so important in their development. Once a child experiences that sense of wonder, they will begin to care about the world around them.
Looking for activities to do outside? Here are some ideas.
Every August, the RWA presents an Opie's World event at Lake Saltonstall in Branford, a free event designed to introduce families to the natural world. Check out this video clip from WTNH's Cruisin' Connecticut in August 2016.