Nature Deficit in Children
Nature deficit refers to the phrase coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors causing alienation from the natural world and affecting how we learn and handle
challenges throughout life.
At Laramie Rivers Conservation District we believe that the child-nature connection and environmental literacy should be considered as fundamental elements of children’s education. To help young people learn in nature, not just about nature, their classroom must include parks, wildlands, farms and ranches and school gardens. This nature-oriented experiential education helps future generations understand climate
stability, the resilience and productivity of natural systems, the beauty
of the natural world, and biological diversity.
For Trish Penny, LRCD Education Coordinator, finding ways to bring this type of education to our local schools is a priority. She collaborates with Albany County School District teachers bringing conservation education into the curriculum in ways that engage young minds and their natural curiosity about the world around them. During the school year she organizes field trips to nature areas around Laramie and creates curriculum that teaches kids about nature, water quality/quantity, macroinvertebrates, wildlife and wildlife habitats, and shows where food comes from through use of school gardens. During the summer, she expands on the topic of food and agriculture with the Kids Garden Club that grows hundreds of pounds of vegetables for families and local charitable organizations
Conservation District’s roots are in Agriculture
The importance of maintaining good soil health and water quality is the ability to grow and raise food. We are wedded to the land and depend on it for our survival. As society becomes more urban, we move further away from the intimate ties to the food we eat. Re-establishing our connection to the land is vital to the future of food production. Bringing agriculture back into the classroom through gardening programs provides a powerful hands-on, interactive, multi-sensory curriculum that benefits people of all ages for years to come.