My name is Nia and I am a senior health sciences major at Boston University, with a focus on public health. I have had the pleasure of interning at BOPN since January. Through my time at BOPN, I have seen how this program plays a positive role in promoting children’s health.
During my time at BOPN, we have experienced many exciting things together. During a sunny day in February, we heard a Great Horned Owl at the Conifer Collection. This was a fantastic educational experience for the children, as we know the area had recently been closed off to allow a nesting mother privacy. All of the children were able to hear the owl, and couldn’t stop talking about it the entire day! Even on the rainy, wintry days we still enjoyed ourselves by splashing through the puddles on the way to our “adventure spots.” The children love to splash and play in the mud, as I’m sure the grownups have noticed during pickup! On our many trips to Peter’s Hill and our favorite log, the children always find ways to keep themselves entertained and having a blast. Whether it’s playing “family” together or jumping off the log, it is always a great time! Sometimes, we take breaks from playing to read books, sing songs, or paint pictures. It is always fascinating to see the children express themselves through their art by drawing pictures of their favorite hobbies, their families, etc.
At BOPN, I have seen a number of common public health issues positively addressed. With the amount of energy children use when they are playing with themselves or friends, they are helping to combat childhood obesity. Socializing with other children and being active outside is a great stress relief for children, which leads to lower rates of anxiety and behavioral issues among children. But of equal importance, BOPN kids are learning about sustainability. They learn about nature and how to respect the earth through outdoor play. BOPN children get to experience the highs and lows of all four seasons, and soak in all different types of weather. It is important to continue to socialize kids with not only each other, but their outdoor surroundings to ensure they’re making healthy decisions for themselves and their environment.
Although I am now home in central Maine finishing my college degree online, I hope to come back to BOPN to see everyone before the end of spring! I hope you all are staying safe and healthy during these scary times, you all are in my thoughts!