Richard Louv

Recipient of the Audubon Medal

Author of the International Bestseller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

From the Blog

THE CHILDREN & NATURE NETWORK: Please Give Kids the Gift of Nature

 

 

Over a decade ago a small group of hopeful people co-founded the Children & Nature Network. As you know, C&NN was created to bring together unlikely allies from all over the country, and now the world, to build a movement to connect children and nature and overcome what, in Last Child in the Woods, I called nature-deficit disorder. 

Each December, my wife, Kathy, and I write a year-end check to C&NN. If you haven’t already become a member of C&NN or made a donation, I hope you’ll join us this week.

Here are some examples of C&NN’s good work:

  • Because of the hard work of C&NN's small staff, and many other organizations, tens of thousands of people from all backgrounds have become engaged. A recent C&NN conference drew nearly 1000 delegates from 24 countries, making it the largest gathering of children and nature advocates in the world. 

  • With a deep commitment to equity of access to nature experience, over 500 young people have been trained to build the movement in their own communities through C&NN's Natural Leaders Network.

  • C&NN has built the world's largest database of research on the health and cognition benefits of nature experience, with over 840 abstracts available to anyone in the world at no cost. This is an essential tool for anyone who wants to forward the movement at a school, at the state or provincial level, to business, and to national leaders.

  • C&NN is working with schools across the country to create natural schoolyards to serve the surrounding communities, especially the neighborhoods and families with little access to nature.

  • C&NN is encouraging pediatricians and other health care professionals to prescribe or recommended nature experience to families. One of those pediatricians organized his citywide colleagues to not only prescribe nature, but to create a database of all the parks and open spaces in the city, and make that available to families.

  • C&NN supports national and international networks that support and honor the natural teachers who incorporate nature time into their lesson plans, and over 100 regional and grassroots campaigns to get kids outdoors — these campaigns bring together unlikely allies, determined that ours will not be the last generation where it’s considered natural and expected for children to experience natural play and learning.

So, we’ve seen progress. But the barriers to nature experience remain. In this giving season, I invite you to join us as a new member (or renew) before year-end. Or to contribute in any way you can. To care about the fate of the natural world, children must learn to love it, to understand that it is not separate from them, but part of their humanity. And they have a right to it.  

Thank you for all you’ve done for C&NN, and for the children and nature movement.

Richard Louv
Co-founder/Chair Emeritus
Children & Nature Network

Next post: WHAT IS NATURE-DEFICIT DISORDER?

Prev post: 15 Characteristics of Leadership Writing