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Kids and the Outdoors

May 25, 2018

By Chris Erwin
How will our wild America live on? The question is not a hard one. However, in the age of video games and constant quick communication, the willingness to teach and receive the splendor of nature tends to be pushed to the back burner.

logan_harrison-1024×938.jpg = Logan Harrison, of Russell Kentucky, holds his catch while participating in the Cave Run Kids Fishing Derby last year. (Photo by Chris Erwin)

Every year I try to have a few articles on getting kids outside and teaching them how to enjoy what nature has to offer. It seems simple, but I’m afraid we are slowing losing that battle. We have dozens of distraction that keep kids engaged and busy. While many parents never take the time or lack the skill to teach their children about nature. Fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, bird watching, canoeing, and outdoor photography the list is long. Numbers reveal we are losing in the quest to show our kids why clean water, clean air and the protection of nature are necessary.

I usually talk about taking your kid fishing this time of the year. The time is right; bluegills are going to be nesting starting every month five days before the full moon until fall. There is no easier time to catch these fish. Young or old it’s a great time to learn; the fishing is fast so they don’t get bored.

These willing biters will be located along road-beds, submerged logs located in three to 12 feet of water that has a hard bottom. In clear water you can often see the dished out nest. It doesn’t take anything special to catch these fish, just about any rod and reel will work. Use six to eight-pound line; some experienced anglers will use an even lighter line. However, for kids you will find a little heaver line will save a lot of retying of hooks. Using soft Aberdeen hooks will also bend open and save a lot of broken lines. Fishing with worms or nightcrawlers is the best bait for beginners.
Bring wash cloths, cold drinks and a willingness to help them instead of trying to fish yourself. If it looks like rain be prepared to wait it out or to get them off the water. If you are in a boat make sure they have the approved floatation devices for their size and weight.

If fishing isn’t you thing they are many other activities that you could explore with your children. In 2014, I wrote a book called Camping Kentucky where I cover the 104 public campgrounds across Kentucky. When camping you can swim, fish, hike, boat and take pictures of nature. It’s a great time to teach and learn about the plant life, what flowers, trees and other vegetation make up our outdoors and how they relate to each other.

They are many campgrounds that offer hiking trails with guides to show you about all the plant life and animals you may see in a wild setting. Take water to drink and some insect repellent to be safe.

Our outdoor world is shrinking due to over-population and the expansion of industry. We must get our children interested in learning how we fit into our living environment. If we don’t pass down our place in nature; I’m afraid we will be doomed to losing it.

In the weeks ahead I hope to take you on the water and in the woods to explore some of the nature activities together. However, in the meantime, make plans with your children, show them what you know. Give them a chance to have fun in the fresh air. They may learn you can have fun without an electronic gadget in your hand.

Chris Erwin is the founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an on-line magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine Chris can be reached by email chris@ashlandbeacon.com

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