Cognoscenti contributor John Less argues his reasons for advocating why children need to play and explore outdoors.
For children, the difference between observing creatures in a zoo or aquarium and catching a tadpole or a turtle in a pond is geometric. Feeling a live and wild animal wriggle in one’s palm is a different experience from seeing specimens in a controlled environment. Returning that creature back into its habitat, and doing it safely and with compassion, is equally important and rewarding. ‘Catch and release’ is a fundamental life experience that can only be learned in nature, and it is a core value of our humanity.