Three times more children and youth getting outdoors in nature from 2009 to 2011—some good from Children & Nature Network (C&NN) survey!
The 2011 Children & Nature Network (C&NN) survey of grassroots leaders of regional, statewide and provincial campaigns shows a three-fold increase in the number of children and youth getting outdoors in nature from 2009 to 2011—from one million to three million annually
The Children & Nature Network (C&NN) reported in USA Today, “A back-to-nature movement to reconnect children with the outdoors is burgeoning nationwide.” The latest survey with data from 2011 provides additional support for that statement.
Reasons for the growth and urgency of this movement include the epidemic of childhood obesity, reports of diminished creativity, increases in behavior disorders, increased time using electronic media, and sedentary behavior among children and youth—all of which are associated with reduced time for learning and play outdoors in nature as a part of children’s everyday lives. Research indicates that children tend to be healthier, happier and smarter when direct experiences in nature are a frequent and regular part of their childhood.
Compared to baseline results established in 2009, the Children & Nature Network 2011 Grassroots Leadership Survey shows significant increases in the numbers of children and youth getting outdoors in nature as a result of the efforts of the Network and its members, including regional, statewide and provincial campaigns to connect children, families and communities to nature. Commissioned by C&NN with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the survey results are analyzed and reported by an independent evaluator, Dr. Lynette Fleming.
Leaders of these campaigns reported that the number of children and youth annually engaged in nature-based outdoor activities and experiences has tripled since 2009 to an estimated 3 million youth in 2011. In 2011, C&NN campaigns and partners reported engaging up to 1.2 million underserved youth in community garden projects (up from 176,600 in 2009); 856,000 in natural play areas (up from 316,1000 in 2009); and 1.6 million in school gardens/habitat projects (up from 401,500 in 2009). Among the many findings, survey participants report increased:
• awareness of the importance of nature for children’s healthy development,
• participation by pediatricians and health care providers,
• educational benefits,
• community support, and
• development of places to play and learn outdoors in nature.
Seventy-eight campaigns completed the 2011 survey. As of May 10, 2012, there are 103 campaigns registered on the C&NN web site.
“While we still have much work to do to reverse the trends of the last 30 years in which children are increasingly sedentary and disconnected from playing and learning in nature, this progress is exciting and an indication of momentum,” said Cheryl Charles, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Children & Nature Network.
“These findings are encouraging, including the increase in the number of under served youth who are having nature-based play and learning experiences. However, barriers remain, and some are growing,” said Richard Louv, C&NN co-founder and Chairman Emeritus. “As of 2008, more people in the world live in cities than in rural areas. So we need a broader, deeper movement – one that transforms cities into incubators of biodiversity and human health. This movement isn’t about going back to nature; it’s about going forward to nature. Every child needs nature, not only those whose parents love the outdoors.”
Louv and Charles praised the young people, parents, grandparents, physicians, teachers, community leaders, urban planners and others leading the international movement to reduce what, in his book “Last Child in the Woods,” Louv called “our society’s nature-deficit disorder.”
Since its founding in 2006, The Children & Nature Network has been advocating for children, their families and communities to enhance their health and well-being through direct experiences in nature. C&NN’s vision is a world in which all children play, learn and grow with nature in their everyday lives. The Children & Nature Network is leading a movement to connect all children, their families and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources and tools, broad-based collaboration and support of grassroots leadership. C&NN provides a wide range of research and user- friendly tools, including those to enhance positive family bonding and access to fun, friendly nature-based activities.
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- Childrenandnature.org Gets Children and Youth Outside in Nature (prweb.com)
- ‘Nature deficit disorder’ at Hay Festival 2012: Children are deprived of access to the countryside (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- If You Liked No Child Left Behind, You’ll Love What’s Coming Next – Without National Debate (psychologytoday.com)
- Kids and the Environment : Pioneering College Explore Nature-Deficit in Children (naeeuk.wordpress.com)
- Richard Louv: The Nature Principle & the New Nature Movement Comes to MA (withywindlenature.com)
- Applying the Nature Principle to a World Gone Too Fast (powerofslow.wordpress.com)
- USA National Trails Day …. One family’s experiences (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- NEW NATURE-SMART CAREERS: 11 for the Future and for Right Now (naeeuk.wordpress.com)
- Book Review #3 – The Last Child in the Woods (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Nearly half of pre-schoolers not playing outside… (naeeuk.wordpress.com)
“May be just what our high-tech, urban culture needs to bring us down to earth.”
In his bestselling book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv sparked a national debate that spawned an international movement to reconnect kids and nature. He coined the term nature-deficit disorder; influenced national policy; and helped inspire campaigns in over eighty cities, states, and provinces throughout North America. In The Nature Principle, Louv delivers another powerful call to action—this time for adults.
Supported by groundbreaking research, anecdotal evidence, and compelling personal stories, Louv identifies seven basic concepts that can help us reshape our lives. By tapping into the restorative powers of nature, we can boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthen human bonds.
Louv makes a convincing case that we are entering the most creative period in history, that in fact the twenty-first century will be the era of human restoration in the natural world. This encouraging and influential work offers renewed optimism while challenging us to rethink the way we live.
From Publishing Weekly
In this sanguine, wide-ranging study of how humans can thrive through the “renaturing of everyday life,” Louv takes nature deficit disorder, introduced in his seminal Last Child in the Woods, a step further, to argue that adults need nature, too. “A reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health,” he writes, asking, “What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in electronics?” Louv’s “Nature Principle” consists of seven precepts, including balancing technology excess with time in nature; a mind/body/nature connection, which Louv calls “vitamin N,” that enhances physical and mental health; expanding our sense of community to include all living things; and purposefully developing a spiritual, psychological, physical attachment to a region and its natural history. The book presents examples of these precepts, from studies of how exposure to a common soil bacteria increases production of serotonin in the brain to designing shopping malls inspired by termite mounds. Although lightweight for longtime nature lovers, the book may be just what our high-tech, urban culture needs to bring us down to earth.
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