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The Nature Deficit Disorder and Non-Profit Organizations

The Nature Deficit Disorder and Non-Profit Organizations By: Kelly Behnke “I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.” ~A fourth-grader in San Diego The Project

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The Nature Deficit Disorder and Non-Profit Organizations

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  1. The Nature Deficit Disorder and Non-Profit Organizations By: Kelly Behnke

  2. “I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.” ~A fourth-grader in San Diego

  3. The Project • Read Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv • Talk to two professionals in the field • Deb Stork • Robin Cooper-Cornejo • Visit one outdoor education facility • Central Park Nature Center • Read two articles • Connect information to non profits today

  4. Why should you care? • “I was encouraged to find that many people now of college age—those who belong to the first generation to grow up in a largely de-natured environment—have tasted just enough nature to intuitively understand what they have missed. This yearning is a source of power.” • Louv, 2005, p. 4

  5. Benefits of Exposure to Nature • Nature can calm, focus and yet excite the senses— “The woods were my Ritalin” • Therapeutic Factors • Creates an atmosphere for social support • Open to interpretation to help children work through problems. • “Eight Intelligence”-heightened sensory, nature and creative awareness Louv, 2005

  6. Benefits of Exposure to Nature • Nurtures creativity of all people • Connects people to a larger world or being • Being in tune with nature can help prepare for larger disasters – tornadoes, fires, floods Louv, 2005

  7. Birth of Nature Deficit • Unstructured outdoor play has been outlawed in fear of lawsuits and vandalism • The message is sent to children that nature is to be seen not touched • Increase in air conditioning • Apprehensive parents • State and National mandates on school curriculum Louv, 2005

  8. Birth of Nature Deficit • Synthetic Nature • Nature seen from the automobile looking out • Nature portrayed as a scary and dangerous place in the media • Little research regarding nature deficit and the causes and effects Louv, 2005

  9. Results of Nature Deficit • Lack of nature can lead to obesity and related health risks as well as depression • Lack of interaction causes dissociation with nature, causing issues like rainforest depletion and other crises to seem less real • Increased number of children diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, other psychological disorders Louv, 2005

  10. How Non Profits Can Help • Use activities that allow for the exploration of outdoors, not structured games outside • Educate the community regarding Nature Deficit and how we can combat it • Teach the basics of nature so it is no longer “scary” • Offer experiential education, and bring in outside help when necessary Cooper-Cornejo, R. Personal Communication

  11. How Non Profits Can Help • Keep the joy of nature alive in yourself and your employees • Put leisure and recreation as a requirement in daily lives • Offer camps and programs during summer months • Train employees in outdoor education, enough so they won’t be afraid to talk about it with a child Stork, D. Personal Communication

  12. How Non Profits Can Help • Listen to the cries for help from the children… “I’m bored” • Conduct research regarding this epidemic • Give employees time off to spend time with their families outdoors • Take the fear of the outdoors away from young children • Understand it will take the larger community to change the trend-bring back neighborhoods • Build relationships with organizations that already offer quality outdoor education programs Louv, 2005

  13. Current Programs • Earth Conservation Corps • To reclaim two of the country’s most threatened resources: the environment and our disadvantaged young people • Environmental Education Grants • Money from the EPA To promote excellence and innovation in environmental education • National Network for Environmental Management Studies • Fellowship program that encourages college students to pursue professional environmental careers • National Environmental Education and Training Foundation • Nonprofit organization that fosters partnerships between the public and private sectors to fund and develop environment education and initiatives Browner, C., 1995; Clattenburg W., 2006

  14. What I learned • Maintain my enthusiasm and passion for the outdoors • There is a problem, and by being aware and educating people I am a small step in the right direction • There are jobs available for me to work in this field • Going into the field of camping is valid and important

  15. “Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives” • Thomas Berry

  16. References • Browner, C. (1995). Why Environmental Education? EPA Journal, 21, p6-9 • Clattenburg, W. (2006). Leading by Inspiration.American Forests, 111, p47-49 • Louv, R. (2005) Last Child in the Woods: The Nature Deficit Disorder. North Carolina: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

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