Book Chronicles Dad Connecting Kids with Nature

Two years ago Rick Van Noy packed his car and, with his two children, drove 800 miles from their home in Virginia to Boothbay Harbor in Maine. The children wanted to learn about tide pools. Once there, they witnessed minnows, crabs, mussels and sea urchins.

”We found some exquisite creatures, some we couldn’t even name,” Mr. Van Noy says.

It was no accident his children — son Sam,10, and daughter Elliot, 8 — instigated such a long trek to explore the natural world. Mr. Van Noy, an associate professor of English at Radford University in Virginia, has sought, and succeeded, to provide his children with the experiences of being outdoors and away from computer screens and video games.

He has written a book, A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature through the Seasons (University of Georgia Press, $16.95), that chronicles his attempt to get his children outside. Mr. Van Noy will discuss and read from his book at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed in Pennington June 26.

”The program is part of a larger mission by the Watershed Association to connect children to nature,” Communications Manager Gwen McNamara says. The Watershed is also offering information sessions for parents in a companion series called “No Child Left Inside,” which in the coming months will visit local communities throughout central New Jersey.

Both the Watershed and Mr. Van Noy were inspired by Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from nature deficit disorder (Algonquin Books,…

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