Have you heard of this? Nature Deficit Disorder. It's the "staggering divide between children and the outdoors," says Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle.
I heard Louv speak at Central Michigan University a couple of years ago and was enthralled that he so effectively makes the case for this "disorder," and compels people to do something about it.
Louv's message is about enriching our lives, making our lives stronger and more full, by not just protecting the living world, but also by celebrating it. I am liberally using terms he also used, from book jackets and my notes, because he is a strong and compelling author and speaker.
And just the other day I finally witnessed a classroom which embraced this philosophy as well. I was observing one of my student teachers leading a lesson at the Harris Nature Center, near Lansing. All children were dressed for the spring day, and were actively engaged in a lesson about ecosystems - surrounded by the birds singing, wind blowing, trees and flower budding, and the sound of the river running. The sun also cooperated, which was great because it was chilly in the wind.
What a great day. I spent a couple of hours with the class, talking with the classroom teacher about the fund-raiser he conducts each year to fund this field trip, which takes place each day for a week, and entails being bussed quite a distance to take part in the experience. The center runs some demonstrations and lessons, and the classroom teacher/student teacher supplemented with curricular items.
Take the time to read Louv's books, and then put his suggestions into practice. Our young people need these lessons - as do their families and friends!
Has anyone read these books? Does anyone take time to teach their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, etc. about our natural world?