Far too many children spend much of their early years inside these days, without experiencing the exhilarating beauty of nature - and gaining knowledge that can help them later in life.
It should not be left up to public schools to fill that gap, but some have chosen to do so.
Last week Union Local Schools formally opened a new 1.7-mile nature trail, for use by both students and the public. It includes a pond, bird feeders, butterfly gardens, trees with identifications, benches, picnic tables and exercise stations. It was constructed with education in mind.
An important part of the trail is a wood carving dedicated to the late Rob "Duck" Kemp, a Union Local High School student who died in 2008.
Both teachers and students are excited about the trail, according to school Superintendent Kirk Glasgow. "When the teachers say, 'We are going to the trail,' the kids get excited," he noted.
And why not? Children love to be outdoors. Most think an hour or two in the woods or meadows, or watching wildlife in a pond, is fun - not school.
Because of the trail, Union Local has been designated a "WILD School" by the state. Though Ohio has 121 such schools, this is the first in Belmont County.
We hope it will not be the last. Those responsible for the Union Local nature trail have done an enormous service to students and to the community at large. Some of the most important learning Union Local children will experience will be on the nature trail.
More such facilities should be established in East Ohio school districts.