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Millennials are Tackling Nature-Deficit Disorder

C&NN – July 25, 2013
By C&NN

Millennials are Tackling Nature-Deficit Disorder

Santa Fe, NM. July 25, 2013. The Children & Nature Network today announced the publication of the Natural Leaders Network 2013 Curriculum Guide. The purpose of this Guide is to serve as a resource and practical tool for developing young leaders who will help to reconnect children with nature.

Young leaders throughout North America are worried about the disconnect between children and nature—and many are doing something about it. Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) and Chairman Emeritus, coined the phrase nature-deficit disorder to describe this societal change in which so many children and youth are sedentary, indoors and missing the many benefits from direct experiences in nature. Rising to the challenge, the Children & Nature Network created the opportunity for outstanding young people to come together to form the Natural Leaders Network. Natural Leaders are young people between the ages of 15 and 29 who care about nature and helping other people, especially children, find a connection to nature.

“We are dedicated to the long but beautiful struggle to connect every youth with nature and to give a new generation a special place in the outdoors to call their own. Only through empowering young people in their own communities can we solve nature-deficit disorder. Fighting nature-deficit disorder will make our families stronger, our children stronger and our communities stronger,” said Juan Martinez, C&NN’s Director of Leadership Development and the Natural Leaders Network.

A team of Natural Leaders at the national level began developing the Natural Leaders Legacy Camp curriculum in 2011 and presented elements of the curriculum at the Children & Nature Network’s annual Grassroots Gathering held in San Diego. By 2012, the curriculum was more fully developed and was launched at the first five-day Natural Leaders Legacy Camp which was held in Shepherdstown, WV in September. The curriculum is designed to inspire, engage and prepare young people 18 years of age and older to help solve nature-deficit disorder in their own communities. The curriculum focuses on facilitation skills, mentoring, community organizing and communication skills. Participants in the Legacy Camp are mentored and supported to plan and host nature-deficit disorder house parties in their communities, to partner with others to get children and youth outdoors, and to promote intergenerational nature-based service projects within their communities. The full curriculum is now available for download at: http://www.childrenandnature.org/documents/C124/

Since its founding in 2006, the Children & Nature Network has been advocating for children, their families and communities to enhance their health and well-being through direct experiences in nature. C&NN’s vision is a world in which all children play, learn and grow with nature in their everyday lives. The Children & Nature Network is leading a movement to connect all children, their families and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources and tools, broad-based collaboration and support of grassroots leadership. C&NN provides a wide range of research and user-friendly tools, including those to enhance positive family bonding and access to fun, friendly nature-based activities. For more information, see www.childrenandnature.org.

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C&NN Publications

As part of our ongoing efforts to build the movement, the Children & Nature Network has published these resources for leaders, organizers, and participants at the local, national, and international levels:

2010 C&NN Report
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Children and Nature 2009: A Report on the Movement to Reconnect Children to the Natural World
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C&NN Community Action Guide: Building the Children & Nature Movement from the Ground Up
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