Have you ever had a book dedicated to you? Well, if you’re a part of The Wild Network, you have now!
It’s in the latest offering from Richard Louv, who advised us when we made our Project Wild Thing film.
Louv, as you may know, is responsible for coining the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’ when he first alerted the world to the fact that children are losing connection with nature in his book The Last Child in the Woods. His next book The Nature Principle looked at nature connection among adults. Inspired by the massive response to these, Louv set up the Children Nature Network in the States to help children play, learn and grow in nature, whose aims are much like ours here at The Wild Network.
At first glance, Louv’s latest offering Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life looks like another book of things to do in nature. And indeed it is packed with brilliant fresh ideas for activities, games, and nature crafts. How about planting with socks (walk through a garden with some old socks on to pick up tiny seeds, then plant the whole sock in compost and see what comes up – I can’t wait to trial that one!). Or what about listening for sounds that you can’t hear? Sap rising, feathers, a spider weaving a web… And there’s technology in there, too: use a GoPro to see the world from an animal’s point of view, or a contact microphone to listen to a tree’s ‘heartbeat’…
But this is not a children’s activity book. It’s aimed at parents, leaders, teachers and other educators. The many ideas (there are 500) are interspersed with short case studies around wider themes. Education, for example (‘The Power of School to Change a Community’). Or issues such as disability (‘My Feet, Six Inches from the Ground’). And key moments that engage children with nature (‘How a Jalapeno Can Change a Life’).
While many of the activities are focused on families, Louv is at great pains to point out that we all belong to wider circles of family and friends. So he’s broken the book up into themes such as ‘The Nature Rich Community’, ‘Nurturing Natural Resilience’ and ‘The Nature Rich Home and Garden’.
This is about connecting people, families, communities and entire ecosystems to each other – making sure someone who is sick in bed has a view of nature; taking food you’ve grown to a local food bank; helping scientists understand urban nature by making an online map of where you live.
We think this book marks a welcome shift in emphasis. It’s about seeing #wildtime not as some kind of special event, but as something routine, easy, normal, everyday.
A way of life.
No wonder Louv has dedicated the book to: “the thousands of people building the new nature movement.”
Do you have ideas for making nature-rich families and communities? Please share!
As our network is continuously growing, we want to increase our support of the grass-roots, local efforts to get kids more wild time. So we have launched The Wild Network: Local. Because we believe that the solutions to getting kids outdoors are found in individual communities at a micro-level. We think that the future lies in local-scale ideas that, when stitched together, create change on a bigger scale.
Louv, R., 2016. Vitamin N: The essential guide to a nature-rich life. Algonquin Books: Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Louv, R., 2013. The Nature Principle: Human restoration and the end of nature-deficit disorder. Algonquin Books: Chapel Hill, N.C.
Louv, R., 2005. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from nature-deficit disorder. Atlantic Books: London.
Tamsin Constable is a researcher and writer at The Wild Network.
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