Today, when kids have spare time they turn on their televisions, computers, smartphones or iPads. Peter Samaroo of Charlotte, North Carolina, is volunteering his time to encourage youth to disconnect their electronics to reconnect with nature, by heading outdoors.
Samaroo’s passion for animals and the environment led him to share his expertise with the younger generations of his community. Samaroo dedicates his services to Shining Hope Farms, the Carolina Raptor Center and Friendship Gardens.
“I realized how many kids were out there that actually knew nothing about being outdoors or what nature was like,” Samaroo says.
Samaroo’s realization echoes the majority of opinion concerning American youth’s time spent outdoors, or more accurately the lack of time spent outdoors. Those aged between eight and 18 years old spend an average of 7.5 hours per day using electronics, according to a 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
This time spent staring at a screen versus staring at clouds in the sky and birds in the trees, can can potentially negativity impact children’s physical and mental health.
This is what makes Samaroo’s work and mission, to reignite kid’s appreciation of nature, all the more important.
Samaroo has experience in gardening, planting and landscaping, which has helped him to build various structures at the Carolina Raptor Center, Friendship Gardens and Shining Hope Farms. But in addition to maintenance Samaroo is able to introduce students to animals, plants and other wonders of nature.
Samaroo says the core of appreciating the outdoors is simply sitting back and observing. Samaroo says of the students he leads on nature walks, “things are going on around them, nature is alive, but if you’re talking and not paying attention you will never notice it.”
Samaroo has always appreciated nature and wants others to be able to slow down to notice their surroundings. “I always enjoyed being outdoors, walks in the woods and quiet time,” says Samaroo.
Samaroo enjoys volunteering as a break from his work. He feels the benefit from volunteering is a worthwhile pursuit and encourages others to also use their skills to give to others.
“Anybody can give money, but to actually give your time is important too,” says Samaroo. “You’re helping and and a lot of time hopefully you’re learning something.”