How we got our kids outdoors

"The thing about kids is that they don't get to choose their parents, so right from the start my kids had no choice. My wife and I are trained biologists so they have been taken outside since they were tiny. On some days if they have been inside too long, we kick them out and lock the doors. They may whine at first but eventually they find something to do. What's important to know is that you don't need some grand experience. There's always something to do, you just have to get them outside. There's a lot of cool stuff to do right in your backyard. My daughter is happy to grub around in the backyard looking for butterflies, worms, etc."

Mark Dodd (children ages 8 and 11)

"I have taken my kids out into the field with me from the time they were little. We also live on a farm so they are always outside. We also try and go to as many outdoor events and festivals as we can. We have tried to instill a love of the outdoors into our children primarily because there are too many kids that have a huge disconnect from so many aspects of nature. They don't know where their food comes from or have any understanding of the predator/prey relationship. We garden, have chickens and my husband takes the girls hunting. They are not bothered when he kills a deer or they see a snake eat a mouse; they understand why that has to happen."

Nikki Castleberry (children ages 2 and 5)

"When she was smaller I took her birding or hiking in the backpack every few weeks and she loved it. She really enjoys being outside. We live in the city and our yard happens to be super steep, terraced with rocks and concrete paths, so we try to take our daughter to local parks where she can explore safely. Also, when she was born we bought a family membership to Zoo Atlanta and we try to go every other week or so. She loves it."

Tim Keyes (daughter age 15 months)

Here's how three Georgia Wildlife Resources Division biologists introduced their children to the great outdoors, and why they consider that effort important.