A global pandemic can really highlight human needs that are often easily neglected. Of course, food and shelter are on the list, but we continue to find that there is more to a healthy human life. One realization that many parents are having during this time of social distancing and quarantine is that nature is necessary.
Parents are Noticing a Difference
In this June 2020 article by The New York Times, Meg St-Esprit McKivingan spoke to both parents and experts. In many urban areas, greenspace is overcrowded or at times simply closed. Parents are noticing changes in their children. Being confined to indoor spaces, with little autonomy, is having a negative impact on kids behavior; parents say their children have become more stressed and anxious, leaving them scrambling to find ways to get their kids into nature like hunting for space to play at a city park or even going so far as to rent a home with a backyard for a week.
Nature Deficit Disorder
Experts aren’t surprised. For years, study after study has highlighted the role that time in nature can play in children’s development, happiness, and behavior. The pandemic is revealing what a lack of time outdoors, in combination with social restraints, can do to kids. Richard Louv, who wrote “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” coined the term Nature Deficit Disorder to describe behavioral changes in children resulting from spending less time outdoors. It seems many families are starting to see the effects of this disorder firsthand.
Prioritizing Nature and Visiting LRC
At Lost River Cave, Nature Deficit Disorder has been on the radar for quite some time. In part, it’s why Lost River Cave’s mission has changed over the years; evolving from the first mission to clean up the Cave to the current mission to educate and enrich lives through connections with nature. We hope Lost River Cave is a bridge to nature for you. It fulfills your human need for nature, and if you have children, it’s their green space that will help them temper the stresses of daily life and grow. The nature trails and Nature Explore Playscape are open daily from 8 am to 7:30 pm. Prioritizing time in nature is prioritizing health…and as Ming Kuo, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Illinois who studies urban greening, said, “every bit helps.”
If you want to help Lost River Cave continue to provide free green space, donate here.
“‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ Is Really a Thing.” www.nytimes.com 23 June 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/parenting/nature-health-benefits-coronavirus-outdoors.htm