…Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment—but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading…
to the wind and watching the clouds move.
This book explores the increasing divide between the young and the natural world, and the environmental, social, psychological, and spiritual implications of that change. It also describes the accumulating research that reveals the necessity of contact with nature for healthy child—and adult—development…
photo by Isado
Yet, at the very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature—in positive ways. Several of these studies suggest that thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can even be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorders and other maladies. As one scientist puts it, we can now assume that just as children need good nutrition and adequate sleep, they may very well need contact with nature.
– excerpted from Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Environmental Education Week April 11-17, 2010, gives educators and youth development professionals a springboard for helping children explore their natural world. A program of the National Environmental Education Foundation, the event website provides useful, fun ideas and activities for all ages.
You might even be able to get teenagers excited about Planet Connect’s Get Green video contest that challenges high school students to submit a one to two minute video showing how they’re reducing their carbon footprints. Entry deadline is May 2nd and prizes for winners include Apple computers and iPads.
Louv reminds us of nature’s wonderful calming effects, and we should remember our children learn from the behavior of the adults in their lives. “View nature as an antidote to stress,” Louv wrote. “All the health benefits that come to a child come to the adult who takes that child into nature. Children and parents feel better after spending time in the natural world—even if it’s in their own backyard.”