At The Arcadia Institute, we all are reading the book, “The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv. In the book, the author makes the case that we all are becoming more and more separated from the natural world. It seems that no matter where people live, less time is spent in the natural world around us – and children are experiencing “nature deficit disorder.” I won’t go into detail about all of the research that Louv has done, but do highly recommend that you read the book.

What I do want to share is that as I’m reading the book – I am noticing how much less time my family spends in nature just enjoying it, learning from it and experiencing all of the benefits from it. I notice that my son simply sees nature as something that gets in the way of his skateboard time. I know parents who won’t let their children play outside – it’s too cold, it’s too hot, it’s too damp. Look around yourself. Are you disconnected from nature?

Louv contends that being in Nature really helps children with attention problems be able to focus. Their behavior improves. So I want to end with this. Just yesterday, I was speaking with a mom whose son went to the Kalamazoo Nature Center day camp one week last summer. This little boy struggles with attention and emotional problems. His mother told me that the Nature Center experience was the best thing that ever happened to him. The whole week he was in camp his behavior was wonderful. No inappropriate language, yelling or major meltdowns.

I’m not sure I would have really understood the importance of what she was saying if I wasn’t reading Louv’s book.

So go outside a bit each day and reflect on how each experience effects you. You may be pleasantly surprised (even if it is not your favorite season!)