VITAMIN N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life
500 Ways to Enrich the Health and Happiness of Your Family & Community
Featured recently on CBS This Morning and NPR's Diane Rehm Show, Vitamin N is a comprehensive and practical guidebook for the whole family and the wider community. It includes actions for parents eager to share nature with their kids, and also for grandparents, teenagers, teachers, health care professionals, mayors and anyone else who wants to create a nature-rich life. Vitamin N reminds us that looking up at the stars or taking a walk in the woods can be as exhilarating as it is essential, at any age. Here's a sampling of what families and communities can do:
Grow outside. Make time for free, independent play for children, allowing them to explore and find answers on their own. Explore hundreds of traditional and new ways to connect your family to nature, including games that will not be digitized.
Create a restorative home or workplace. How to use native plants, indoor living walls, and a variety of other biophilic design techniques to make your home, yard and garden a place that improves the health of your family.
Explore nature, nearby or far. Whether you live in an inner-city neighborhood, a suburb or in a rural area, you can enhance mental, physical and spiritual health at any age. Learn how other cultures connect with nature.
Reduce stress. Use nature time as healing time to escape the pressures of daily life. Learn how to calm a crying infant through nature, designate an outdoor sit spot as a place to read, think, and meditate.
Enhance fitness. Calorie for calorie, exercising outside offers more psychological and physical benefits than an indoor workout; here's how to build your own natural gym in the backyard or find a green trainer.
Raise resilient children. Fear of strangers and the outdoors are rooted in reality, but can be overcome. Learn how to be a "Hummingbird Parent." Be a "weather warrior." Don't cut down that tree, build up the kid.
Build family bonding. How to connect more deeply with your children, teen-agers, grandparents, spouse and friends through the power of the natural world. Learn how to join with other families to create a family nature club for safety and family connection.
Boost creativity. Playing and learning outdoors, building forts and tree houses, turning on all the newly discovered human senses (as many as 30 of them) helps children develop their problem-solving skills and creative thinking.
Balance the virtual with the real. Children who spend more time outside use more of their senses and develop “hybrid minds” – maximizing the skills that come from both the virtual and the natural world.
Be a "natural teacher." Greening schools is the real cutting edge of education. Parents and educators can work together to encourage nature-rich at home and at school. Establish a parent–teacher nature club. Improve cognitive functioning and reduce bullying by creating nature-based play spaces.
Develop a nature-smart career. From landscape designers specializing in native plants, to nature therapists, to nature preschool teachers, to biophilic architects; here's a career guide to connecting people to nature.
Create a nature-rich community. We can transform cities and communities into engines of biodiversity and human health. Health professionals can join the growing number of pediatricians who are prescribing Vitamin N. Help your local library become a bioregional "natural library." Find out how your faith-based community can offer Vitamin N for the spirit.
Act locally and globally. Be part of creating a worldwide homegrown park to bring back butterfly and bird migration routes. Set the stage for a more hopeful future.
Early praise for Vitamin N:
“(Richard Louv) coined the term ‘nature-deficit disorder’ in his bestselling book, Last Child in the Woods, and the phrase launched an eco-minded revolution in parenting. ... Here’s the good news: it’s never too late to improve. No act is too small. And each and every single child and family can make a difference. That’s the crux of Vitamin N, a cheerfully pragmatic, can-do manual... It’s no longer enough to strive for a sustainable future for our children and their children, he argues. We must create a nature-filled world, starting now—in our families, neighborhoods, and communities.” — Katie Arnold, Outside magazine
"Louv, whose Last Child in the Woods (2005) became the twenty-first century’s back-to-nature clarion call and a game changer in the world of parenting books, returns with a guide on just how to accomplish spending all that much-needed time outdoors. Vitamin N (“N” is for nature) is everything the worried parent needs….Louv addresses families with money concerns, living in urban environments, with larger budget options, and those already lucky enough to be near wilderness areas. The accessibility of Louv’s writing is what truly shines, and his enthusiasm, so evident in earlier works, is on overdrive here. He also introduces readers to organizers around the country who are dedicated to getting kids outside, with a special nod to efforts at diversifying the outdoor experience. ... This is, without question, another shot out of the park for nature-advocate Louv." — Booklist, starred review
"[Vitamin N is] an insightful and practical guide chock full of inspirational advice. ... Many physicians are on board and some are even prescribing nature time for their patients...Louv includes a superb chapter on building resilience and the importance of taking small, manageable risks; this section is a must-read for all parents. He also includes suggestions for grandparents, advice on how to 'create your own nature gym'; and ideas for building nature-rich classrooms and communities. Issuing an imperative that everyone should heed, this important new book provides the tools to reclaim the wonders and health benefits of nature." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Richard Louv is a co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Children & Nature Network. He is currently working on his tenth book, about the evolving relationship between humans and other animals. In 2008, he received the Audubon Medal.
NATIONAL BOOK LAUNCH AND CELEBRATION: Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA. Special tickets that include pre-signed books, as well as student discounts, available through Sunday. Net proceeds will go to local initiatives connecting children to nature.
Jackie Green, JGPR Inc., office (323) 512-3050; mobile (310) 429-8157
Jacquelyn Burke, Senior Publicist, Algonquin and Algonquin Young Readers, phone (212) 614-5640
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