The 2010 Wyoming Youth Congress on Children and Nature was again a success. The gathering brought together 79 8th grade students from 40 of Wyoming's 48 school districts, who were nominated by their school district superintendents to participate. The students spent four days at Teton Science Schools exploring the disconnect between children & the outdoors, getting to know peers from around the state, and preparing to get more students outdoors in their own communities. The final products of the Wyoming Youth Congress were ornaments for the Capitol Chirstmas Tree - to be displayed in Washington, D.C. as well as presentations that each student group created to take back home. All students are asked to share their presentation at least two times in their home community.

Here are a few statements from the students about the importance of getting young people outside:

"People of Wyoming have many opportunities in the outdoors, but just need to take better advantage of them. We want to have more outdoor classrooms and learning opportunities and better utilize our resources in order to spend more time outside. We can also focus on the things that keep us inside, such as using electronics and technology to plan or map our adventures in nature."

"The connection of youth and nature is a powerful thing that gives kids a bright imagination and teaches us about life."

"We believe that people who choose to be in nature shape their surroundings, but when they lose touch with nature, they lose touch with themselves."

Check out photos from the Youth Congress here.