30 March 2012

Nature Deficit Disorder

The Froglife team have been pleased to hear 'nature deficit disorder,' a term coined by author Richard Louv, hitting headlines this week.  This has been thanks to a report from the National Trust highlighting concerns about young people’s lack of contact with nature. Froglife's learning and social inclusion projects have been tackling this for a number of years, and it's great that this issue is getting more exposure.

Currently, our Wildlife Ambassadors, Froglife Active Conservation Team and Green Pathways projects offer opportunities for young people to explore, make things and learn about the wild creatures in their neighbourhood. We have often found that young offenders or those labelled as ‘disruptive’ in classrooms simply flourish doing practical outdoor activities.

The joys of pond dipping
Froglife’s Wildlife Ambassador project attended Natural England's conference last week, where a wide variety of projects funded through their Access to Nature programme were sharing their joys and successes.  There is some inspiring work being done to change lives through engagement with wildlife, and we hope this continues to be funded.  Excitingly, we found out yesterday that the events our Ambassadors ran teaching children about newts came second in the Community Category for the National Science and Engineering Week awards.

Froglife's My Wild Life memory-sharing project also aims to capture evidence of generational changes in contact with the big wild world. We have met some very enthusiastic young naturalists through the project.  We have also met young people who have never seen frogspawn, climbed a tree or played outdoors, in contrast with older people's memories of disappearing on their bikes for days.

The National Trust’s report highlights the benefits of nature for improving mental and physical health and well being.

Here at Froglife, we also believe that everyone has something to contribute to conservation – so the people we help engage with nature through our work can then help us conserve animals and habitats. Everyone wins.

You can find out more about Froglife’s learning programme on our website here
You can find out more about the National Trust report here
There are ideas for things you could get up to with your family outdoors on our website here – do let us know on Facebook or Twitter what you get up to

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