by Carla Otredosky, Youth Programs Coordinator, The Groundwater Foundation
On Tuesday, February 19, I had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” at the
As an environmental educator and self-proclaimed nature-lover, I am both professionally and personally interested in the movement that is sweeping the world to reconnect people with nature. While the lifestyles of today’s youth wires kids to electronics, leads to childhood obesity, and spurs an increase in attention deficit disorder, there is a new movement gaining momentum. We have the tools and the know-how to make this change and get people back outdoors.
I was motivated by Louv and his stories of people he has met, just like me, who are emotionally connected to the Earth and who are concerned that today’s children have missed out on establishing that same emotional connection. Louv illustrated the image of a grey-haired farmer he met, wearing cowboy boots, denim jeans and a Stetson, who was moved to tears by memories of the land he so loves. Louv described a woman, whose fondest memories of the environment include riding on the back of her horse as she leaned over to pluck bright orange survey sticks from the rolling hills of land near her home. Louv himself, admits to retreating to happy memories from his own childhood, constructing tree houses with scavenged materials in the wooded area just beyond his own backyard. It was during his solitary moments in these woods, that he called his own, where he fell madly in love with nature.
Hearing these stories made me ask myself, at what point in time did I fall madly in love with nature? For me, it is hard to pinpoint an exact time or place. However, I know that my parents had a heavy hand it. As an infant, I spent many of my weekends secured in a car seat in the back of their Jeep as we 4-wheeled off-road through the
I consider myself lucky to have been given a childhood with so many experiences in nature. Imagining my childhood without these adventures makes me feel sad. Without nature, I believe I would be a different person, with different values. But more importantly, I believe that sharing these memories and experiences with others is a vital part of the process to reconnect humanity with nature.
I am interested to know; what is your story? What is your fondest memory of time spent outdoors in nature? Why is nature important in your life? What childhood or adult experiences have you had that shape who you are today?