School’s out €”at least for kids in my neighborhood. In theory, this means they’re outside more, turning over rocks, taking pictures of what they find with their camera phones, using their iPhones to run a quick Internet critter identification search, engaging in texting one-upmanship (bgz r gr8), so on and so forth.
Okay, maybe they’re not doing it like that. (But oh, what I could have and would have done with such technology in my wild child days!) In fact, maybe they’re not going out into the Mystery much at all, if Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods gives an accurate account of how children and nature have fallen out of love. But there must be some kids still getting out there, developing lightning-fast reflexes from chasing lizards, solving the whole-body puzzle of climbing a tree, honing their future driving skills by walking on logs across creeks, etc.
It’s in the hope that nature children still exist somewhere that Wilderness Interface Zone is issuing a call for nature poems and short essays written by children. The works may address any aspect of nature and the child’s relationship to it. Poems should be 50 lines or under and essays 150-1000 words. If you have a budding nature photojournalist in your family, we will consider posting his or her photos. Children ages 6-18 are invited to submit work to firstname.lastname@example.org from July 6, 2010 to July 31, 2010. Depending on how many submissions we get, we’ll post them in batches off and on July-August. Parents and kids: Please review submission guidelines here before submitting.