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FAMILY   -   FAMILY FEATURES
Nurture your Family's Love of Nature
February, 2015 - Issue #124
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Santa Clarita's not lacking in open space - isn't it time you started taking advantage of it? In 2015, encourage the kids to put down the video games and pick up a rock. According to the national bestseller "Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv, today's children are suffering mentally, emotionally and physically from a lack of undirected natural play and limited time in the great outdoors. The book, which The Boston Globe called an "absolute must-read for parents," is filled with numerous examples of how to get your kids their daily dose of fresh air. Here are three you can do now without leaving Santa Clarita.

"To see a world in a GRAIN OF SAND, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, An eternity in an hour."
William Blake
Appreciate our Natural "Golden" History
Every SCV family should wander Placerita's paths where local lore says that gold was first discovered. The Oak of the Golden Dream is only a leisurely stroll away from Placerita Canyon Nature Center. You probably won't stumble upon any valuable nuggets but you will see plenty of SCV flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for small pools of water that are often ideal locations to catch (And release!) tadpoles. Discover the details at www.placerita.org.

Join the Local Rocks and Minerals Group to Inspire Mini Geologists
If your kids really "dig" digging for rocks and other "treasures," consider joining the local family-friendly rock and mineral group, the Sierra Pelona Rock Club. The group has a Pebble Pup category of membership (Which is the little-kid version of "rock hound!") and many families bring children along to the regular events. Check the website for info on monthly meetings held in Canyon Country and group field trips to So Cal collecting sites, then join your new pals every other month for a workshop with club equipment to cut and polish your finds. There's even a six-time-yearly wire-wrap session where you can turn your polished piece into wearable art. Learn more at www.sierrapelona.com and "like" them on Facebook to see photos from recent fun events.

Get your Questions Answered by a Local Expert
You'll never utter "I don't know" more times in an hour than when you're on a nature walk with an 8 year old. Lucky for you, Hikesantaclarita.com has local expert and CSUN professor Dr. Norman Herr on hand to answer any questions your kiddo may come up with. Want to know what kind of tree grows along the trails in Central Park? Snap a picture and upload it to the site. Dr. Norm will reply on the "Ask Dr. Norm" page. But don't just log onto Hikesantaclarita.com to bug the good doctor; it's also the best place to find local maps and an easy-to-navigate collection of outdoor hiking, biking and strolling spots like East Walker Ranch, Quigley Canyon and lots more.

Nature's Positive Impacts on Children's Health
Improved cognitive functioning
Reduction in stress and depression
Increased focus of children struggling with ADHD
Improved social connections
Increased sense of self and independence
Increased abilities to problem solve, think creatively and cooperate
Improved focus and self discipline
Reduced aggression

For access to studies that support these claims and more,
visit www.childrenandnature.org.
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