Reconnecting Children with Nature in Texas

Reconnecting Children with Nature in Texas
Journalist Richard Louv coined a phrase to describe a societal change that many felt but few discussed: nature-deficit disorder.

In his best-seller “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder” he cautions that kids are spending more time indoors and in front of electronic screens and less time climbing trees, making forts and enjoying unstructured free time in nature.

“He was able to really illuminate a problem that no one had put a name to yet,” says Margaret Lamar with the preservation group Houston Wilderness. “People knew there was a disconnect happening. He was able to pull together research and stories that showed us that this was a bigger problem.”

Louv visits San Antonio on Wednesday to speak at the San Antonio Children's Museum's annual Outside the Lunchbox Luncheon. The $75-a-seat event at Pearl Brewery is nearly sold out.

Vanessa Lacoss Hurd, executive director of the Children's Museum, says officials there are excited to host Louv and start a local dialogue about the importance of nature in child development.

“Outdoor play in natural environments is crucial to children's health,” Hurd says, noting that the museum's new facility under construction, to open in 2015, will feature 30,000 square feet of outdoor attractions.

The back-to-nature movement is attempting to turn the tide at a time when America faces both a childhood obesity epidemic — in 2010, more than a third of U.S. children were overweight or obese — and a rise in diagnoses…
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