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People who regularly spend time outside are happier, healthier, and even smarter than those who do not. And hey, let’s face it: it’s just plain fun to get outside and play!

Research shows that unstructured play and interaction with the natural world are important for healthy development in children as well as the physical, mental, and emotional health of both children and adults. Time in nature provides opportunity for physical activity, critical and creative thinking, interaction with community members, and so much more. Learn more here.

RI Families in Nature was created by and for families who want to spend more time outdoors, explore RI’s natural places, and reconnect with and reap the many benefits of nature. We also have a trail guide, The Rhode Island Family Hiking Guide and Journal.

How did RI Families in Nature start?


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Hi! I’m Jeanine Silversmith, Founder and Director of RI Families in Nature, and author of The Rhode Island Family Hiking Guide and Journal.

Growing up in the suburbs of New York City, I didn’t have much exposure to “wilderness”. What I did have, however, were two parents who sent me and my siblings outside to play nearly every day of our lives. I have loads of memories of playing outside with the other neighborhood kids and I had a pretty awesome childhood.

As a college student in Buffalo, NY, I found a love of hiking and became passionate about spending time in nature. I decided to become a science teacher and eventually transitioned into environmental education. I worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo and currently I am the executive director of the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association.

Before children came along, I was an avid hiker – not an expert or anything – but it was a regular part of my life. I’m less tense, more in tune with my body, and motivated to take better care of it when I get outside on a regular basis.

And then I had kids…

Finding time and motivation to hit the trails was difficult. Plus, I never hiked with little legs following me. But I recognized how much better my children behave, ate, and – mercy! – slept if we ran around, climbed some trees, and splashed in a few puddles.

In September 2008, I saw author and child-advocate Richard Louv speak about his bestselling book, ­Last Child in the Woods.  In this ground-breaking work, Louv connects the lack of nature in our children’s lives to obesity, attention disorders, depression, and a whole lot more. He even coined a new term to describe the trend: nature deficit disorder. Learn more here.

Louv’s book and talk inspired me to encourage families – including my own! – to spend more time outdoors and explore Rhode Island’s many beautiful natural places.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments; if you need any help enjoying the great outdoors or hitting the trails; or to learn more about wholesale or bulk sales of our hiking guide.

See you outside!
Jeanine

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