That’s the term coined by author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods, an account of how children are slowly disconnecting from the natural world. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle discussed a new poll of 333 parents by the Public Policy Institute of California addressing this very topic. The poll found that 30 percent of teenagers did not participate in any outdoor nature activity at all this past summer. Another 17 percent engaged only once in an outdoor activity like camping, hiking or backpacking.
A nationwide study conducted by the University of Maryland found that between 1997 and 2003, the proportion of children ages 9 to 12 who spent time hiking, walking, fishing, playing on the beach or gardening declined 50 percent.
Depending on where you live, there are usually no shortages of activities in which to partake. The problem may be the countless distractions. Can beaches, hikes, and family time compete with iPods, cell phones, and MySpace?
At Playa Viva, we think they can. Releasing baby turtles, sleeping in a treehouse, or horseback riding on the beach are the antidotes to nature deficit disorder. For both kids, and parents alike.