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A Holiday Hero: Richard Louv

A Holiday Hero: Richard Louv

As we head into the holiday season, we at Care2 are taking a second look at some of the people we’ve covered this year and who we really admire. In a nutshell, they’re our Holiday Heroes.

Richard Louv (pronounced like “move”) is a nature journalist and educator who has changed the lives of thousands of children and parents. It was in 2005 that Louv’s groundbreaking book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, was published. With his coining of this phrase, nature-deficit disorder, that perhaps many of us knew existed, but couldn’t quite articulate, Louv created a movement to get children and families back to nature.

“Our children,” writes Louv, “are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world.” He goes on, “This has implications for our children’s mental and physical health, their ability to learn and our future relationship with the natural world – in terms of our willingness to care for it.”

Since its initial publication, Last Child in the Woods has created a national conversation about the disconnect between children and nature, and indeed Louv’s message is now being heard internationally. From the book grew the Children & Nature Network, created to encourage and support the people and organizations working to reconnect children with nature. Hundreds of groups and initiatives around the country are now affiliated with this, working together to ensure that children experience nature firsthand.

Here’s an excerpt from his recent keynote at the American Academy of Pediatrics Conference in September: “It is a terribly under-researched arena, but the research that is coming forward suggests some very interesting things. The University of Illinois has done studies of children with the symptoms of attention deficit disorder, and reports that these symptoms get much better with just a little bit of contact with nature. Recent studies at the University of Washington and the University of Indiana looked at inner-city neighborhoods and found that the greener the neighborhood, the lower the rate of obesity – independent of population density.”

You can watch an interview with Richard Louv here:

Do you have a Holiday Hero you’d like to nominate? Please let us know in the comments.

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Richard Louv

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102 comments

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8:44PM PST on Dec 18, 2010

great news, what an inspiration.

10:52AM PST on Dec 10, 2010

Excuse me, but how can there be 99% for it, 1% leaning pro, and 1% not for it? I'm not good at math, but isn't that 101%? LOL.

5:10PM PST on Dec 6, 2010

Richard Louv is awesome. Also, another person you might want to recognize is Jon Young (see www.jonyoung.org). He founded the Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall, WA over 25 years ago and was personally mentored by tracker Tom Brown Jr from the young age of 10. He is now 50 and he has been helping kids and adults make deep connections to nature for most of his life. He has written several books and has trained thousands of naturalists, who now have their own programs around the world, programs whose main mission is to get kids out in nature and connect deeply on a regular basis. Definitely someone to recognize and appreciate for all that he has done for kids and nature.

www.jonyoung.org

Thanks!

12:04AM PST on Dec 6, 2010

As a child I lived in a rural area and was blessed to have such a close relationship with nature. Also reading nature stories by Thonrton Burgess as a child helped develop my all abiding love of nature. I hope all children have access to the wonders of the great outdoors, the miracles of a garden, or watching any kind of wildlife from birds to bunnies.
I love his story and he is, indeed, a hero.

10:24PM PST on Dec 5, 2010

I love a good hero story. Thanks for
posting this.

3:06PM PST on Dec 5, 2010

You are right Christine. There are so many in every neighborhood that it is very difficult. Amazing that there are so many people that are so sick.

3:05PM PST on Dec 5, 2010

Wow, scarey yet powerful. .

10:18PM PST on Dec 4, 2010

great article, thanks. wish all kids could experience the beauty of being in natire.

9:33PM PST on Dec 4, 2010

If we could just keep the darn pedophiles and rapists in check so our kids could experience nature without parents having to be paranoid all the time!

7:15PM PST on Dec 4, 2010

A lot of children nowadays don't experience nature, their mothers do not seem to want them any where they may get dirty!!

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