- Children and Nature Network, childrenandnature.org
- Orion Society, orionmagazine.org
- Center for Ecoliteracy, ecoliteracy.org
- Project WILD, projectwild.org
- Greenhearts Inc., greenheartsinc.org
- America’s Association for the Child’s Right to Play, ipausa.org
In just two short generations, the entire landscape of childhood in America has changed. In the past, most children spent much of their free time outside building forts, hunting frogs, and playing hide-and-seek in the tall grass.
Many researchers, including Yale Social Ecologist Stephen R. Kellert, conclude that children’s direct and regular experience of the natural world is an irreplaceable dimension of healthy maturation and development.
Yet today, American children, regardless of geographic region, spend ninety percent of their time inside. These children of the digital age have become increasingly alienated from the natural world with disastrous implications, not only for physical fitness, but also for long-term mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Wilderness Youth Project’s outdoor programs reconnect children with the natural world. Research has shown that time in nature improves a child’s cognitive flexibility, emotional stability, critical thinking, creativity, self-esteem, and self-discipline.
Additionally, a new fact sheet from the National Environmental Education Foundation compiles the research on problems that occur for children in the absence of nature connection.
And a few more of our favorite references: