The author whose extensive review of research concluded that Americans are falling victim to “Nature-Deficit Disorder” will speak at a special Earth Day celebration Sunday, April 22, at Bubolz Nature Preserve and share what he’s learned in the more than decade since his book “Last Child in the Woods” became a best-seller and captured the attention of nature lovers and parents alike.
Richard Louv — who followed up that book with “The Nature Principle” and “Vitamin N” — will speak at 2 p.m. on “What is Nature-Deficit Disorder and How Can the Fox Cities Tackle this Problem.”
Louv coined the term Nature-Deficit Disorder after finding extensive evidence that experiencing nature is healthy for people — physically and mentally. Conversely, excluding nature from our lives creates tendencies parallel to a child with Attention Deficit Disorder. A combination of a fear of “stranger danger,” hypnosis by video screens and the drive to organize every child activity into a youth league has removed children from nature, Louv contends, and we’re all less healthy for it. He encourages parents to take the issue into their own hands, not waiting for schools or government or nature centers to create opportunities to engage in outdoor experiences.
Louv’s appearance is possible due to a grant from the Community Foundation’s Bright Idea Fund. His appearance will be part of the grand opening of the new 18,000-square-foot nature center building at Bubolz and the launch of nature center’s “Need for Nature” campaign, inspired in part by Louv’s books. Bubolz has partnered with local healthcare organizations to create new programs that feature nature as a key component for everyday health and wellness. Ecotherapy programs will include everything from mindfulness activities to arts and crafts and fitness programs at the Preserve. Year-round recreation like hiking, skiing and snow-shoeing are activities that Bubolz provides to encourage outdoor activities in every season.
The Earth Day Festival at Bubolz is a family fun and educational event featuring more than 50 hands-on activities, entertainment and a special appearance by PBS Kids Character Nature Cat The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to the public. Louv also will speak at a gala for donors the evening of Saturday, April 21.