From Mexico to Canada, two-year-old Raden Rusyn is setting out to thru-hike the entire 2650-mile long Pacific Crest Trail! Granted, he’ll be traveling the majority of the trail in his mother’s backpack. Mary Shelton and Matt Prindle trust their journey will shine a light on the importance of connecting with nature, especially for the little ones!
Matt is co-founder of Intention Inspired, a mindful living community that creates online courses to improve mental health and lifestyle habits. He has traveled the world in search of practices to overcome the anxiety and stress caused by the modern digital world. His search has led him to the beauties of mother nature.
The benefits of connecting with nature are well-documented in numerous scientific research studies and publications. Collectively, research data show that physical contact with nature supports health and well-being in a myriad of ways. 
"Nature is important to children's development in every major way—intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically" (Kellert, 2005).
Developmentally, the first few years of a human's life are of utmost importance. In today's society, the environmental factors necessary for healthy child development are increasingly growing under threat.
The average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.
In today’s fear-based and consumer-driven society, our behavior and psychological conditioning have been disrupting vital connections with one another and the natural world. In correlation, there is an increasing rise in the rate of autoimmune disease, addiction, depression, ADHD, child abuse, stress, and suicide. 
If left ignored, disconnection from nature is likely to have severe consequences on the mental and physical health of future generations.
“That’s why this trek is so important for us,” states Matt. ”Every step has the potential to inspire another child and parent to unplug and reconnect to nature and ultimately reconnect to themselves. It’s why we decided to donate 10% of the funds we raise for the trip to the non-profit Hike it Baby. They just get it.”
Mary adds, “Connecting with nature is connecting with ourselves. It is important for us to nourish this relationship to support our well-being throughout our lives and the lives around us. If I can encourage this perspective for my child and future generations, our society will benefit."
Rayden concludes, "Let's go on an adventure!"
Learn more about their hike and help raise awareness at https://intentioninspired.com/pct
 Schein, D., (2014). Nature's role in children's spiritual development. Children, Youth and Environments, 24(2), 78-101.
 Mushtaq, R., Shoib, S., Shah, T., & Mushtaq, S. (2014). Relationship between loneliness, psychiatric disorders and physical health? A review on the psychological aspects of loneliness. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 8(9), WE01–WE4. https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2014/10077.4828