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ROOM TO ROAM The Celery Fields soon will be welcoming youngsters eager to learn about nature. Photo courtesy Sarasota County AUDUBON SOCIETY LAUNCHES KIDS PROGRAM TO COMBAT 'NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER' By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Hoping to expose as many children as possible to the joys of the natural world, the Sarasota Audubon Society has launched a collaboration with Around the Bend Nature Tours and Sarasota County Schools to bring students to the Celery Fields for a day of outdoor learning. Starting in January, groups of kids from area schools will travel to the Celery Fields, where they will be supplied with binoculars to identify birds and learn about native plants and the ecology of the wetlands. The cost of the program ($700 per trip) is being split by the Audubon Society and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Audubon Society President Jeanne Dubi says the program was created to combat "nature deficit disorder," the increasing distance between local children and the wilderness. The term is a joke (no There's a lot more to Sarasota such medical condithan the beaches. tion exists, of course), but the need is very Jeanne Dubi real. The Society adPresident Sarasota Audubon vertised the excur-

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