Do Our Kids Have Nature-Deficit Disorder? Resources to Help Connect Students to the Natural World

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ASCD Magazine

 

Educational Leadership

 

 

December 2009/January 2010 | Volume 67 | Number 4

Health and Learning Pages 24-30

Richard Louv

 

The following resources can help educators reconnect students to the natural world:

On the Web

Nature-Deficit Disorder Survey. Do you have this "disorder"? To find out, take this online survey at www.eeweek.org/resources/survey.htm. The survey was created by an 8th grade teacher for National Environmental Education Week.

The Children & Nature Network (www.childrenandnature.org). In addition to presenting current research and news, the Children & Nature Network offers information about ways to bring the benefits of nature to schools, families, and communities. The author, with educator Cheryl Charles and others, founded the network to build the movement to connect children to the natural world.

Natural Teachers Network (www.childrenandnature.org). This new network honors, supports, and provides tools to educators who take their students outside to learn.

National Wildlife Federation (www.nwf.org). Be sure to read the federation's new study, Time Out: Using the Outdoors to Enhance Classroom Performance.

Nature Rocks (www.naturerocks.org). Parents and teachers can locate nature opportunities in their own zip codes and download a free guide to creating family nature "staycations."

Professional Resource Programs

Project Learning Tree (www.plt.org). Created by the American Forest Foundation, this multidisciplinary environmental education program for preK–12 students includes topics ranging from forests, wildlife, and water to community planning, waste management, and energy.

Project WILD (www.projectwild.org). Project WILD offers an interdisciplinary instructional program for K–12 educators that ties nature-oriented concepts to all major school subjects, requirements, and skill areas.

Classroom Earth (http://classroomearth.org). Created by the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation, Classroom Earth maintains a directory of K–12 environmental education programs and resources for teachers, parents, and students.

National Wildlife Refuge System (www.fws.gov/refuges). Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the system indicates wildlife refuges by zip code and offers teacher training and other education opportunities.

Publications

Green Teacher magazine, available in English, Spanish, and French (www.greenteacher.com). The magazine, which comes out four times each year, contains practical articles and activities for students ages 6–18.

The Learning with Nature Idea Book: Creating Nurturing Outdoor Spaces for Children. By Nancy Rosenow, James R. Wike, and Valerie Cuppens (ArborDay Foundation, 2007). This book includes 10 guiding principles forestablishing an outdoor classroom.

References

American Institutes for Research. (2005). Effects of outdoor education programs for children in California. Palo Alto, CA: Author. Available: www.air.org/news/documents/outdoorschoolreport.pdf

Dyment, J. (2005). Gaining ground: The power and potential of school ground greening in the Toronto District School Board. Toronto, Ontario: Evergreen.

Huh, S. Y., & Gordon, C. M. (2008). Vitamin D deficiency in children and adolescents: Epidemiology, impact, and treatment. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, 9(2), 161–170.

Kuo, F. E., & Taylor, A. F. (2004). A potential natural treatment for attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health, 94(9), 1580–1586.

Lieberman, G. A., & Hoody, L. L. (1998). Closing the achievement gap: Using the environment as an integrating context for learning. Poway, CA: Science Wizards. Rose, K. A., Morgan, I. G., Ip, J., Kifley, A., Huynh, S., Smith, W., et al. (2008).

Outdoor activity reduces the prevalence of myopia in children. Ophthalmology, 115(8), 1279–1285. Science Daily. (2008, October 29). Neighborhood greenness has long-term positive impact on kids' health. Available:
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081028074327.htm

Sobel, D. (2008). Children and nature: Design principles for educators. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Richard Louv is the author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

(Algonquin Books, 2008) and Chairman of the Children & Nature Network (www.childrenandnature.org). He was awarded the Audubon Medal in 2008.

Copyright © 2009 by Richard Louv
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