Give the gift of the outdoors

Gifts have been a huge part of the discussion around the country for the last month.

Actually, just after Halloween, I noticed Christmas marketing began with store shelves filling with decorations and various themed gifts.
There always seems to be much talk about “gifts that keep on giving” but most do not. They fade away and are forgotten in short order.
Time is one such gift that does keep on giving, especially time spent outdoors.

Going into 2012, I challenge you to spend time with friends and family in the great outdoors. Looking back on my life, it is evident time spent outdoors with my family and friends was crucial in not only setting me on a path that has me writing this column but also have a deep passion for all things wildlife.

To this day, I research wolves and seek them out not only in the wild but also in zoos and sanctuaries because of an incredible encounter with them in the Gilbert Woods near Fannett when I was nine years old.

My Dad took me on my first deer hunt and on the way in that morning a wolf pack started howling very close to us.

At first I was scared but that quickly turned to fascination and in reality it never died. I am just as fascinated about wolves and wildlife as I was in that moment.

At nine-years-old my daughter has the typical short attention span and boundless energy but she already has a love and appreciation for wildlife because my wife and I have exposed her to it since day one.

A few months ago I shared a photograph of her feeding a baby cougar and every time she says that photo hanging in the house she lights up and says, “Daddy, I fed a baby cougar.”

baby cougar 2

Kids are not going to have that passion for the outdoors or perhaps even to go outside if they are not given a chance to experience it. All of the electronic wonders of the modern age are incredibly seducing and while they offer plenty of fun and work advantages for adults, they can help make kids lazy and unappreciative of nature.

However, if you get them outside when they are little and let them catch a fish or get a glimpse of a big whitetail buck or huge flock of snow geese something resonates with them. The outdoors becomes too exciting to completely ignore.

Time outdoors should also be invested in adults.

How many of you have senior parents or relatives that do not have the means or perhaps connections to get outdoors? Offer to take them out and let them know you appreciate them paving the way for you.

Our friends at work and in our neighborhoods are also primate candidates for an outdoors blessing. Putting someone on their first big fish or taking them on a hike is a great way to build friendships and to give something meaningful to others.

Giving is truly a wonderful thing and it is not something that should be restricted by a date on a calendar but it can become a lifestyle.

The greatest mind that ever walked the Earth said, “Give it and shall be given unto you.”

He is the reason we in the Moore household celebrate this season and it is with that spirit of giving we challenge you to give the outdoors this year.

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