The Next Generation

The Next Generation

Bruce Reichert, Host:
What is it that children can learn from the outdoors?  How can we
best teach them to appreciate nature?

Jerry Painter, Author: 
Always make it fun.  Because as soon as it stops being fun, then
they don't ever want to go again.

Linda Holden, Ponderosa State Park: 
And this is the scavenger hunt.  These are the things that we are
going to be looking for.

So many people are now growing up in urban and suburban
environments.  My era grew up in a time where at least there were
vacant lots and, you know, owls in the trees next door.  And a
lot of kids, they don't have those kind of experiences any more.

Brad Peck:
It's a good way to get to know your kids also.  You might find
out some things about your kids that you didn't know before.

Diane Peck:
It's really easy to do with any child to be over protective.  And
sometimes as a parent you just have to take a deep breath and
just pray that they're going to be safe.

As the West becomes more urbanized, Outdoor Idaho offers some
tips on bringing nature and adventure into a child's life.

Steve Jones, Outfitter: 
It's a great thing to see how self-reliant that kids can be. 
There's a lot for us as adults to learn from that too.  And I
think for me that's one of the main purposes of why I like to
take kids down because it reminds me of how you need to keep
things simple in our lives and we'll be a lot happier for it.

High five everyone.  Good job.  Way to go everyone.

Jack Doherty:
Man I got soaked.

Alright, what a beautiful day.  And I think I just saw a fish
jump.  How do you make kids feel good about the outdoors?  How do
you convince children that they should strap on a backpack, or
raft a river, or even catch a fish?

Helping someone make that connection with the outdoors is a
valuable gift that an adult can give a child.
Hi, I'm Bruce Reichert and welcome to Outdoor Idaho.

The author and scientist Rachel Carson believed that children
need the companionship of at lease one adult to help keep alive
that innate sense of wonder, to help them discover the beauty and
mystery of the world.  And the nice thing is, adults don't have
to be nature experts to help foster that sense of excitement.

Nature as enemy, as provider, as inspiration, as teacher.  It
seems each succeeding generation decides where it stands in
relation to the outdoors.

Certainly this is true of individuals.  Some develop an easy
familiarity with their surroundings, having the benefit of a
lifestyle that naturally connects them to the outdoors.

Got to do her anyway.  Get over here on this side Mike.  There
you go.  Put your knee right on ...

Jay Crystal Smith:
You're a goat herder now.  

For many children, however, those early encounters with nature
require the assistance of a caring adult, one who sees value in
the lessons that can be gleaned from the outdoor classroom.

Even if the classroom is a city park and the teaching assistant
is a goat named Shadow.

Wouldn't it be fun to have one of these of your own to go
backpacking with, carry all your stuff and then you don't have
to.  That would be great, huh.

Oh, what is this for?

That's called a breast strap.  That's so when he's going uphill
that his saddle won't slide off his back.  The down the hill.  

Now see, this is what those straps in the back are for.  You see
the strap up there on Pete?  That's so his saddle won't slide
forward.  Otherwise the saddle would end up on his neck and then
he'd feel pretty silly.  Go on Norman.

You are?  Okay, come on.  Throw your leg over.  Okay, hang on to
the saddle horn here.  Are you ready?  Bring your knees up here
so you can hang on a little bit.  Just like you are riding a

Come on Shadow.
Hang on.

Is that fun?  Does it feel like a horse?  It does?  So you can go
home tonight and you can tell your mom and dad, "I rode a goat
today."  What was the goat's name you rode?  Do you remember?


Shadow, that's right.  

Is it bouncy Nichole?

But fun, huh.  

Okay, you did good.  

"Fishermen are born honest," someone once said, "but they soon
get over it."  

The urge to fish is still not finely honed in these young
anglers, but this is where it starts.

Okay, you all set?  

That's it, easy now.  

Whoop, you just about got a family with that one.

Free fishing day provides great comic relief for the adult
volunteers who know that one day even these kids may come to view
fishing as a lifetime obsession.

Almost had a winner there.

There you go.  Good throw.  Okay, let's reel it in a couple

That's a big one.  They didn't lose it did they?

Whether one is bringing home the catch of the day or learning to
hunt big game animals, adults can provide an invaluable link to
the natural world.

Ted Nugent:
You hear a very important word, patience.  You know us young
guys, we're still learning about that.

Linda Holden, Ponderosa State Park:
And this is the scavenger hunt.  These are the things that we are
going to be looking for.

Linda Holden is introducing children to the plants and animals
found at Idaho's Ponderosa State Park, near McCall.  She gives
children cameras and a list of things to find.

We have to find two kinds of mammals other than people, a tree
that sheds its needles, something damaged by lightning, something
left by the rain, something indicating weather.  What would that
be maybe?

The wind.

How are we going to take a picture of it, though?

Rustling through there.

Okay, good.  That's a good idea.  Excellent.  Excellent.

I think that outdoor education is crucial.  If you don't learn to
wonder and learn the beauty when you're a child, as an adult I
think it's much harder.

Remember, we only have ten pictures so we have to think hard and
get the most in that we can.  See this leaf here, this is why
that tree has a distinctive sound, like I told you.  You can spin
the leaf up here, but if you slide your hand down to here, you
can't spin it anymore.  It's flat.  And that means the leaf can
only shake back and forth and that's what gives it it's
distinctive sound.

A large majority of our population has no real interfacing with
the environment that's not manmade.  Some of them are first time
campers, and you have to respect that because they are trying,
and that's important.

That would be a good hiding place.  And what do you think
happened to that tree?


You're right.  See how black it is.  Here it was hit by

You can see the zig zags.

That's right.  You can see the zig zags.  When they explode by
lightning there often is.  These are scarlet gillia.  They are
one of the reddest flowers that we have in the park.  But we do
have indian paintbrush also.  When we get back you can each
explain your own pictures. 

This is a mammal other than the humans:  the black dog right
there.  And this is a good hiding spot.  

It's a sign that an animal is there.

This is a picture of a tree that was struck by lightning.

This is mountains shaped by wind and water.

A large bird and a small bird.  You can't see the small bird.

The idea is you can go out into the woods, you can bring back
your memories, you can bring back your pictures, but you don't
have to take things.  And then we can leave them there so
everybody else can enjoy them.

Julie Painter:  
Come here Sam, let me put some sunblock on your cheeks.  Some
right there and some right there, so you won't look like Rudolph. 
And some right there.

Jerry Painter, Author:  
Now you want the heaviest stuff in the dog pack, you know.  

Julie Painter:  
We're ready to go.  We're going to put our packs on, okay.  

Jerry Painter: 
This boy needs to go on a diet.

Trailbook author, Jerry Painter and his wife Julie have always
taken their kids backpacking.  

Julie Painter:
Whoa, Dad's going to get a workout today, Sam.

It's their favorite way of connecting children to the outdoors.

Julie Painter:
Does that feel good?  

Jerry Painter:
He gets a little heavier each time.

Julie Painter:
Yeah, well you're getting a little bit older too.

Jerry Painter:
Oh, thanks.

The first thing is to always make it fun.  Because as soon as it
stops being fun, then they don't ever want to go again.  You've
got to make sure to come prepared for the elements:  take along
some sunblock, bring some water, bring some snacks. 

Probably the biggest mistake I see is going on some really tough
trails and finding first timers up there, just struggling and
moaning and groaning because that's just what you, that's your
goals down the road.  That's not what you start out doing.  

And pick trails that have fun destinations like a lake or a
waterfall or something to do such as fishing or seeing some
wonderful wildflowers.  Pick not just a trail but a trail that
has something to offer to kids.  

When they're at the age where they can sit up by themselves, they
don't require a whole lot of gear to take along with them.  That
age is really, just a great time to start taking them out and you
put them in these little child carriers.  They don't weigh a
whole lot at that age and you can cruise right along.  And if
they get tired or bored they just fall asleep.

The awkward age is when they start getting to about three and
they want to walk all over the place.  And if they have not, at
that point, at that age have not been used to going on trips in a
child carrier, then they're tough to keep in them sometimes. 
Then when they get to about age five or six, then you can get
them going, if they are used to walking.  If they are used to
just sitting in front of the TV then you might have a harder

Do you hear the water? 

Sam Painter:
The water.

Jerry Painter:
Yeah.  Sometimes it pays to stop when you see something really
fascinating and spend a few minutes.  If it becomes a big rush
job all the way to your destination, then perhaps they get the
wrong idea.  I think you should enjoy the trip.

Look at those little guys on top of the water.

S. Painter:
I saw 14 of them.

Jerry Painter:
Occasionally we as parents want to just, we want to get there. 
And with kids, that's not necessarily what their goal is.  And so
you have to sometimes stop and find out what they have in mind,
what they want to do.  And sort of mix it in with your own goals.

See there's a couple of people down there fishing.

S. Painter:
Let's go down there and see what's down there, alright Dad? 
Let's go.

Jerry Painter:
It gives them, I think, a more of a love for nature and a love
for all of the things that have been created for us here on

Tony Huegel, Author:
Okay, let's close it up.  Do you have your books?

Lynn MacAusland:
...your books, your tape player, sunblock.  I'll keep that up

Tony Huegel has a different approach to getting children into the
backcountry.  He's traded in his backpack for a four-wheel drive

It has worked so well that Huegel now writes books about off road
trails of the West.

T. Huegel:

Using a modern sport utility vehicle or any, you know, more
rugged four-wheel drive vehicle to reach the backcountry is every
bit as legitimate as using a modern hiking boot or a modern
mountain bike or a titanium backpack.

It gives everybody equal access to natural places, to wild lands
like Big Southern Butte.  It's more comfortable for the kids;
they bring their toys, they can bring games, they can bring their
favorite foods, they can bring a friend along on the spur of the
moment if you like.  It's just more comfortable for everybody
involved, I think.

We try to involve historic places, more than just scenery. 
Places with a tangible, visible history like here at the base of
Big Southern Butte you have remnants of the Oregon Trail, you
have the old Frenchman's cabin, historic homesteads site.  We
talk about the things we're going to see along the way.  We stop
often and look at the flowers, look at the wildlife.  That's the
kind of thing that really can make a trip rewarding and
interesting for kids.  

Benjamin Curran:
Why do gliders have to be so big?

So there is enough wing surface to hold you in the air.

Land Huegel:
What's this here?

This is a harness.  This is what we crawl in while we're flying
to hold us to the hang glider.


T. Huegel:
When you have two little six-year-olds like we do today, it's,
you know it's real exciting for them to be able to see something
as dramatic as a hang glider, you know, as colorful and as large
as it is, you know, launching off of a precipice, from, you know,
7,000 feet high.

You know, it the kind of image they'll remember for the rest of
their lives.  And it's the kind of thing that makes backcountry
touring so exciting as you run into unexpected things like that.

Run on up to the stairs.

I think it is critical to actually get out here and see that
these things really do exist.  And I think perhaps to gain a real
appreciation for public lands and their value and the excitement
that public lands can bring to your life.  Children need to learn
at a very young age an appreciation for what nature means to
human existence itself.

For some the question of access extends far beyond public lands. 
The physically challenged have traditionally been cut off from
many outdoor activities.  Increasingly, though, that's changing.

Programs like this one, the Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped
Outdoor Group, CW HOG for short, provide adventures for the

Eight-year-old Camber Peck has been involved with CW HOG for two
years.  Cerebral Palsy has weakened her legs but not her resolve
to try new challenges like scuba diving.

Camber Peck:
You could put air in your jacket and you could let the air out so
you could go to the bottom.  The fish are kind of scary though. 
Their teeth are so big it looked like they were going to bite you
but they were scared of you.

Erin Ferguson, CW HOG: 
There's nothing holding her back.  Her parents don't have an
attitude that, "my child can't do this," or, "I'm afraid for her
to do that," they'll let her do what she wants to do and that's
very important.

Indeed, even when they thought Camber might never walk at all,
her parents were determined that she would have physical

Brad Peck, Camber's Dad:
I came away with an attitude of, "how can someone tell me that a
person's not going to be able to do something."  They don't know

Diane Peck, Camber's Mom:
There wasn't any doubt in my mind that Camber would not be active
because we would just include her in our activities and that in
itself would make her active.

And Camber has exceeded everyone's expectations.  In 1996 she won
a gold medal and two silvers at the First Security Games.

C. Peck:
Well, I was kind of scared the first time and one thing I didn't
like about it was there was this drop off at the end and I always
fell when I went off that.

D. Peck:
If Camber wants to try anything, I'm willing to let her try any
physical activity.  And she can decide for herself whether or not
she can do that activity.

I would just like to encourage parent that are challenged with
these special children to, you know, keep a positive attitude
about it so that you can pass that positive attitude on to your

The children that we work with and the adults that we work with
are, they are homebound a lot.  If you can get outside, get that
fresh air, and for anybody, it's just a wonderful magic feeling
that the out-of-doors can do for you.  Plus there are many
different elements in the outdoors that create a feeling of risk
and that's, it's a good feeling that you can do that.

Children can learn self-confidence by facing new challenges in
the outdoors.  

Steve Jones, Outfitter:
After we get on our way, the first couple of miles is pretty
mellow.  It's called the South Fork of the Payette.  The section
of river that we're going to run is pretty benign, there's some
fun little rapids and stuff, but at this water level especially
it's pretty easy.  Our biggest problem that we have to deal with
today is just staying a little warm because the wind's up, and
the water is really cold.

Jack Doherty:
I just hope I don't fall in the water because I don't, it's

If you fall in, don't worry.  Just accept the fact that you are
having an out-of-boat experience.  It's no big deal.  You adults,
when these kids fall in, you don't panic.  It's no big deal out
there.  We've had more problems with the parents getting upset
and jumping in and trying to be a hero or whatever, and when
really that doesn't need to happen.  So keep your legs streamline
in the water, lay back on your back.  We'll come rescue you right
away.  Whitewater couch.

So now, we need to get into the boats.

Kate Doherty:
I think it is going to be really, really extra special fun
because I've never done this before and I don't get out much. 
It's really cool, I like the idea.

The biggest thing we do differently when we do these overnight
trips with children and stuff is to slow the pace down.  

One other thing I want to show you is what we call the "high
five".  After we go through a rapid, it's like the Dream Team
celebrating when they're done, we do the same thing.  We do a
high five with our paddles.  Everybody puts their paddles up like
that, okay, and then you come down and hit the water.  Alright.

Okay, so all forward.  Here we go.

And stop.  All forward.  And stop.  

Good job.  High five everyone.  First little rapid for the day.  

This area is, as you can see, a really beautiful area.  We like
to take care of it and one of the things that we do is we take
everything out with us that we bring in and then some.  

Chad Long, Teacher:
This is the most important part of the entire day, lunch.

Richard Doherty:
My wife, Jan, and I had done the Colorado River about 15 years
ago through the Grand Canyon.  Loved it and had always dreamed of
taking our kids in a similar situation as soon as they were old
enough to deal with it.  

Jan Doherty:
I think it just gives you a very good ability to deal with the
things that kids are faced with in town or anywhere.  It gives
them that perspective and sees that there is another side to
things, another way to live, other things to do.

The river is our playground.  As we go down river, we have all
kinds of different places that we can play.  And especially in
these smaller boats, there's a couple places down here where you
can actually stop and play in the rapids and actually get the
boats to actually surf in the waves.

It's a great thing to see how self-reliant that kids can be. 
There's a lot for us as adults to learn from that too.  And I
think for me that's one of the main purposes of why I like to
take kids down because it reminds me of how you need to keep
things simple in our lives and we'll be a lot happier for it.

Our biggest success has been integrating older kids in with
younger kids to teach them about river running.  A 10-year-old
listens to a 16-year-old a lot more than they do to us boring

I love teaching kids, to keep it fun, you can like slide some
actual instruction in there every now and then.  And they won't
know it but you have.  And so you actually accomplish something
and they just think they've been playing all day.

I'm just going to jump in here with you.

Oh, well good.  I feel safe now that you're at the helm.

R. Doherty:
I was happily surprised that my son, that Jack got out there on
the kayak and went wild and had a great time and really had fun.
Okay, there's a couple of pretty good waves in here everyone. 
All forward now.  All forward.

K. Doherty:
I was really afraid of falling out and hitting my head on a rock
and getting brain damage and like no one was going to rescue me. 
I didn't fall out.  That was the good thing.

And stop.  

I think one of the nicest things about children on the river is
it reminds me of my reasons for coming on the river; the sense of
discovery and the sense of wonder that you have on the water. 
The river is not only just a pathway for us to go on a trip, it
also is a vehicle, if you will, as far as to open up more
discoveries for ourselves.

High five everyone.  Good job.  Way to go everyone.

Allowing kids to experience the elements:  to feel, to touch, to
smell, to have fun in the outdoors.  It just may be the best
environmental education you can give your children.  And who
knows, in the process they may even teach us a thing or two. 

Thanks for watching.  We'll see you next time.

Nice cast Chris.

Closed caption transcription by Kelly Roberts.

The Next Generation