The Wildman School of Bushcraft

Nature Deficiency Richard Louv

The following text is written by Richard Louv, author of the best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

“Reducing that deficit—healing the broken bond between our young and nature—is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demands it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depends upon it. The health of the earth is at stake as well. How the young respond to nature, and how they raise their own children, will shape the configurations and conditions of our cities, homes—our daily lives.

Since 2005, when Last Child in the Woods hit the shelves, several studies have been published backing up the importance of the child-nature reunion. The American Institutes for Research conducted a study of the impact of a weeklong residential outdoor education program on at risk youth. Students involved in the program experienced a 27 percent increase in their mastery of science concepts, better problem solving skills, enhanced self esteem, and improved behaviour in comparison with the control group stuck in the classroom.

This new research is prompting action. Several American states have launched programs to get children outdoors, and national policy-makers are also starting to take notice. Last year Representative John Sarbanes of Maryland introduced a bill called “No Child Left Inside” which would provide funding for integrating environmental education into K-12 curriculum.

Louv says schools shouldn't just teach about nature in the classroom, they should be sending kids out to nature—even if it's just to the patch of woods behind the school. He says these types of field trips and excursions should not be viewed as “a little break from school,” but as an integral part of the learning experience.

Previous Page

More information on Nature Deficiency can be found at