Editor's Note: The following information was taken from a Richfield Optimist Club press release.
A condition exists in many of today's youth that has been labeled "nature deficit disorder." It describes the cost of alienation from nature—realized as diminished use of senses, attention difficulties, higher rates of physican and emotional illnesses for children, families and communities. To raise funds for activities which connect kids with nature, Richfield Optimists hosted its annual event.
Following the fundraiser, now more than $10,000 can be allotted to four programs in the metro area to provide opportunities for children to learn about nature in nature.
Richfield R.E.A.D.Y. will conduct activities and field trips with Three Rivers Parks and the Arboretum this summer. The Southdale YMCA will provide Camp Kici-Yapi scholarships to local youth. Richfield Optimist Youth Foundation will award scholarships to college students in nature-related majors. The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge will provide transportation assistance to partner elementary schools, which bring all of their students to the refuge during the fall, winter, and spring each year. In addition, NKLI funds donated to the refuge are double matched by a grant from the refuge's trust.
This was the third year of the NKLI event and more than $45,000 has been raised, plus $23,000 received from double-match grants. Previous recipients include: , and Girl Scouts of Minnesota.
While we realize that funds from this event will not cure all of the ills of nature deficit disorder, we believe we have an obligation to the children of our community to try. More information may be found at richfieldoptimists.org and nokidsleftindoors.org.