I attended a landscape design conference in Houston this week and learned all about Houston’s key parks and landscape design accomplishments. One of the presenters gave a short but compelling talk accompanied by startling images about children becoming increasingly disconnected with the outdoors and traditional play.
I know many of you recall growing up and being urged by your parents to “go outside.” For a variety of reasons, unmonitored play in front of our homes, in neighborhood parks, and sometimes even in our backyards is not as common in 2016 as it was when many of us grew up.
The conference speaker talked about a “nature deficit disorder” in children and the astonishing increase in attention deficit disorder diagnoses. He mentioned a book called, “Last Child in the Woods,” by Richard Louv. I recalled that someone gave me a copy of the book but I haven’t read it yet.
I had two reactions to the conference presentations. As Mayor, I felt extremely motivated to get back home and work hard to protect and enhance our parks and natural environment and encourage citizens to use those public spaces. As a mom, I felt a little bit guilty about not prioritizing outdoor play.
We live directly across the street from a park and in my pre-mayoral days, I recall that Morgan and I would often walk over there after school, and we also spent more time walking the dog. I realize that I should be more intentional about ensuring that Morgan regularly enjoys and explores the many fabulous parks in our city.
She and I attended the grand opening of the new Yanaguana Gardens at Hemisfair last year, but we haven’t been back since. She loves our San Antonio Botanical Gardens, but it’s been over six months since we have been there. I have a tour of Hardberger Park coming up to discuss potential improvements, but I should schedule it at a time when she can tag along.
During Spring Break, I am sure we will make time to do some of these things, but the challenge is to ensure that when we get back in the grind of homework nights and community meetings that we still carve out time to explore nature and enjoy San Antonio’s amazing parks.
I encourage all of you as well to take your kids to a park you’ve never been to in San Antonio and let them connect with nature. Maybe even pack a picnic lunch. I bought an old-fashioned picnic basket at an antique store. We’ve only used it once. Time to dust it off!
For a look at all the parks, trails, programs and classes in San Antonio, go to: http://www.sanantonio.gov/ParksAndRec/Home.aspx
Editor’s note: in 2014, San Antonio Mom Blogs visited and featured 20 San Antonio parks. We LOVE parks and the outdoors and we encourage you and your kids to get out and enjoy the more than 185 parks our great city offers!
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