Today's youth is not in touch with nature

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 12:08 a.m.
Last month two young people got lost in the marshy area south of Green Acres Park, off Newberry Road. Please do the honor of dignifying with a name this last wild stretch of Hogtown Creek in urban Gainesville: this is Sugarfoot Prairie, once home to otter and fox, now hemmed and diked by roads, highways, shopping malls, apartments, and the UF Convention Center.
It's not real large, maybe 150 acres east of 62nd Drive that severs it from Terwilliger Pond, once the largest bird rookery in the county. There is nowhere on the prairie a person could be and not hear the sound of traffic.
It is sad that those two young people had insufficient orienting skills to walk a half-mile in a straight line. And sad to think of the economic resources, people and technology, enlisted in the search effort. It is a sad commentary on the lack of "wild" areas for young people to explore, develop curiosity about the natural world, and learn how to take care of themselves and to develop independence.
Today's young people are more comfortable in a shopping mall than with plants and insects in their own yards and parks. We had better fill in, fence off, and make the wild places go away to protect them.

Karen Garren,


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