Children in Nature

Children in Nature

Trails provide important opportunities for children and their families to access, experience and learn about nature. Our failure to ensure that children have rich connections with nature has led to what Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and founder of the Children and Nature Network, terms Nature Deficit Disorder. Louv points out that a generation growing up with little or no experience in the natural world is exhibiting exploding rates of psychological and physical problems.

All too often, we prescribe new medications rather than fresh air. Yet nature can be even more powerful than pharmaceuticals in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), clinical depression, obesity and other near epidemic diseases. The challenge to act resides in all of us. We need to find creative and engaging ways to capture the interest of children and their parents in the magic of the natural world. We need to toss these ideas out to communities, where they can help them grow and flourish.

“Our society is teaching young people to avoid direct experience in nature. That lesson is delivered in schools, families, even organizations devoted to the outdoors, and codified in the legal and regulatory structures of many of our communities. Our institutions, urban/suburban design, and cultural attitudes unconsciously associate nature with doom, while disassociating the outdoors from joy and solitude. Well-meaning public-school systems, media, and parents are effectively scaring children straight out of the woods and fields. In the patent-or-parish environment of higher education, we see the death of natural history as the more hands-on disciplines, such as zoology, give way to more theoretical and remunerative microbiology and genetic engineering. As the young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, physiologically and psychologically, and this reduces the richness of human experience. Several 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.”
- Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

Source: Alberta Recreation and Parks Association – Children in Nature: Report from the Dialogue on Children in Nature – Alberta Edition

Website Links

Source: Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

To promote a trail network, including the Trans Canada Trail, connecting all Albertans.