Richard Louv: Take it outdoors

Children at fish campCould it be that at least some of the explosion in attention deficit disorder in children has something to do with a lack of nature in children’s lives? That’s one of the questions posed by author Richard Louv, who gave free lectures earlier this month in Fairbanks and Anchorage.

“Symptoms of ADD get much better with just a little exposure to nature,” Louv said during his Anchorage appearance. “Our kids can become smarter, healthier, and happier if they get outside in nature more.”

Louv has written eight books, most recently The Nature Principal and Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. In the latter, published in 2005, he identified and coined the term “nature-deficit disorder.”

After writing Last Child in the Woods, Louv was bombarded with queries from people all over the world who wanted to know how to put Louv’s theories about nature deficit into concrete and positive action. That led to the Children & Nature Network, which is leading a movement to connect children, their families, and communities to nature.

“Every child needs nature . . . If a child never sees the stars, never has meaningful encounters with other species, never experiences the richness of nature, what happens to that child?” Louv wrote in his blog last January.

“Research suggests that exposure to the natural world – including nearby nature in cities – helps improve human health, well-being, and intellectual capacity in ways that science is only recently beginning to understand. People need nature for healthy development. We know that,” he wrote.

Louv’s Alaska appearances were sponsored by several local organizations including the Anchorage Parks Foundation, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Get Outdoors! Alaska. The Best Beginnings website includes easy nature activities you can do with your children.

This original article appeared in the Best Beginnings September 2012 E-newsletter. Subscribe today! Please review our content reproduction policy if you are interested in reproducing this article.