Recently, I asked folks to send stories about animals who had changed their lives. Artist Susan McDonnell sent me her story, told through a painting. As an explanation for the painting, here is what she wrote: “In the early 2000s, I lived in a house with a small...
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10 Nature Activities to Help Get Your Family Through the Coronavirus Pandemic

If the coronavirus spreads at the rate that experts believe it will, schools, workplaces and businesses will continue to close. Here’s a thread of silver lining. We’ll have more time for each other and nature. And, at least so far, nature’s always open. Getting...
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VITAMIN N FOR THE SOUL: How Nature Can Nourish the Spirit of Children and Adults

Matthew, my youngest son, once asked me if a connection to a higher power is, in fact, an underutilized sense—one that some people find activated in nature. This is the same son who, when he was five, asked, “Are God and Mother Nature married, or just good friends?”...
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GROWING THE MOVEMENT: Because Every Child Has a Right to Nature

Fourteen years ago, my book Last Child in the Woods introduced the term “nature-deficit disorder.” The term was new, but the trend (of alienation from the natural world) was not. Parents, educators, caregivers had been witnessing childhood move indoors. They wanted to...
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BACK TO THE SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE: The Real Cutting Edge of Education Probably Isn’t What You Think It Is

In recent decades, many of America’s school districts have favored reduced recess, fewer field trips, longer hours sitting at desks, more tests, and more computers, iPads and even video games used as teaching tools in classrooms. Consider what may be...
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WELCOME TO THE NATURAL LIBRARY: The Essential Role of Libraries in Creating Nature-Rich Communities

Libraries exist in every kind of neighborhood; they already serve as community hubs; they’re often supported by Friends groups; they have existing resources (nature books); they’re often more flexible than schools; they’re known for being safe—and they’re a perfect,...
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YOUTH DEVELOPMENT IN NATURE: An Interview with Karen Pittman

Karen J. Pittman is president and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan “action tank” that combines thought leadership on youth development, youth policy, cross-system/cross-sector partnerships and developmental youth practice with...
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