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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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“I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.”

~A fourth-grader in San Diego

the project
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
why should you care
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
benefits of exposure to nature
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

benefits of exposure to nature6
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

birth of nature deficit
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

birth of nature deficit8
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

results of nature deficit
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

how non profits can help
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

how non profits can help11
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

how non profits can help12
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

current programs
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

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