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Estranged from nature

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It's a sad day when our connection with the natural world is so tenuous that we need a "Take a Child Outside Week." But apparently it is, and we do, so the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences is sponsoring the venture Sept. 24-30, as part of an international program to encourage kids to interact with nature, and not through the Discovery channel.

The perils of artificial environments and the benefits of nature's restorative power are documented in Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder. Children who spend less time outdoors are more likely to be obese, and some studies suggest interacting with nature can reduce symptoms of attention-deficit syndrome.

At takeachildoutside.org, there are ideas for outdoor activities, not including sports. Here's one idea: Take time to wander, every day.

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