Last Child in the Woods

Last Child in the Woods

Carrie McBride
Jun 8, 2007

With each generation we become more disconnected from nature. We remember childhood summers spent wading through creeks in search of frogs, collecting wildflowers to take home to mom, hours spent just sitting outside observing the bugs and birds around us. What will your kids remember?

Author Richard Louv sounded the alarm in his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, and he reports back in a March/April 2007 Orion article on the 'Leave No Child Inside' movement.

As we celebrate Outdoor Home month here at AT, we can't think of a better book for parents to be thinking about.

Here's one Amazon reviewer's experience:

My "wake up call" came when my friend from the city brought her toddler to my home and the little girl cried in terror when her mother tried to get her to put her bare feet on the lawn, a lawn that was free of anything dangerous. We don't have a dog so there weren't even any "droppings" to worry about. A baby who was scared to touch ground? Her mother admitted that her offspring had never felt grass because her mother feared it might be too full of "germs". I urged her to at least let her daughter smell a handful of freshly picked clover but she looked at me as though I were crazy.

Louv identifies several factors contributing to what he calls the "denatured" childhood kids are living today: overprotective parents, restricted access to natural areas, our national addiction to television and computers, commercial development of natural spaces, and overscheduled and overstressed kids.

What do you think? Is "nature-deficit disorder" a fair assessment or an exaggeration? What are some of your favorite nature-related childhood memories?

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