With the series at the Huntsville Botanical Garden, “Seeds to Sprouts”, the garden is helping to fill a gap that is large, and continuing to get larger with our children and nature. Richard Louv coined the term Nature Deficit Disorder, and has extensively researched children, and their exposure to nature, and the lack thereof in his book Last Child in the Woods; Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. Even just a little exposure to the natural world, our children will become better, well rounded and healthier adults.
Children need to be outside, and I can think of few better places than the Huntsville Botanical Garden to have the opportunity to learn and explore. With the garden’s various themed gardens, and the wonderful habitats created such as the butterfly house, the garden has numerous areas to be involved, and learn about nature. Research indicates that children exposed to nature have all five of their senses engaged, allowing them to pay more attention, as opposed to electronic stimulus that only engages two of our senses. Nature may have the ability to help to calm children with ADD or ADHD as television has been linked to these disorders. Health disparities like race, gender, poverty, disability and family structure have less stressful impact on a child’s life if there are safe and accessible places for children to play and use their wonderful imaginations.
Two more AAP policy statements that relate to the importance of nature are “The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children” and “Creating Healthy Camp Experiences” discuss the importance of safe, unstructured play.
These experiences have been proven to have lasting effects on psychosocial development including self-esteem, independence, leadership, values, and willingness to try new things. If we stress a connection to the natural environment we can lessen the lifelong effects of a stressful childhood including depression, obesity, behavior problems, drug use and risk-taking behavior.
If you would like your child to experience these healing aspects of nature, here’s how to get started:
- Go to the Seeds to Sprouts events at the Huntsville Botanical Garden
- Friday, 2/24/12 at 10am
- Friday, 3/9/12 at 10am
- Friday, 3/23/12 at 10am
- Read the book Last Child in the Woods Saving our children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.
- Check out these links: