Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Overview

In his groundbreaking work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, journalist and child advocate Richard Louv directly links the absence of nature in the lives of today's wired generatoin to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. This is the first book to bring together a body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional helath of ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers and in stores.

Pick Up In Store Near You

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (26) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $5.47   
  • Used (22) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 3 of 4
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$5.47
Seller since 2013

Feedback rating:

(25)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
2006 Trade paperback Revised ed. Annotated. New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 334 p.

Ships from: Geneva, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$14.95
Seller since 2011

Feedback rating:

(95)

Condition: New
2006 Paperback New Shipped from a real independent book store in Manhattan.

Ships from: New York, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$50.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(113)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 3 of 4
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

In his groundbreaking work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, journalist and child advocate Richard Louv directly links the absence of nature in the lives of today's wired generatoin to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. This is the first book to bring together a body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional helath of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions to heal the broken bond.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
“This book is an absolute must-read for parents.”
The Washington Post
"[The] national movement to 'leave no child inside'…has been the focus of Capitol Hill hearings, state legislative action, grass-roots projects, a U.S. Forest Service initiative to get more children into the woods and a national effort to promote a 'green hour' in each day…The increased activism has been partly inspired by a best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods, and its author, Richard Louv." - The Washington Post
The Nation's Health
"Last Child in the Woods, which describes a generation so plugged into electronic diversions that it has lost its connection to the natural world, is helping drive a movement quickly flourishing across the nation." - The Nation's Health
Parade magazine
“Louv’s provocative new book…is raising debate and tough questions nationwide.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“An honest, well-researched and well-written book…the first to give name to an undeniable problem.”
Publishers Weekly
Today's kids are increasingly disconnected from the natural world, says child advocacy expert Louv (Childhood's Future; Fatherlove; etc.), even as research shows that thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can... be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorder and other maladies. Instead of passing summer months hiking, swimming and telling stories around the campfire, children these days are more likely to attend computer camps or weight-loss camps: as a result, Louv says, they've come to think of nature as more of an abstraction than a reality. Indeed, a 2002 British study reported that eight-year-olds could identify PokEmon characters far more easily than they could name otter, beetle, and oak tree. Gathering thoughts from parents, teachers, researchers, environmentalists and other concerned parties, Louv argues for a return to an awareness of and appreciation for the natural world. Not only can nature teach kids science and nurture their creativity, he says, nature needs its children: where else will its future stewards come from? Louv's book is a call to action, full of warnings but also full of ideas for change. Agent, James Levine. (May 20) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565125223
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 3/17/2006
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 335
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Louv is a journalist and the author of seven books about the connections between family, nature, and community. His most recent book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, has been translated into nine languages and published in thirteen countries. Louv is the chairman and cofounder of the Children and Nature Network (www.childrenandnature.org) and was awarded the Audubon Medal, presented by the National Audubon Society, in 2008. Find him online at www.richardlouv.com.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

One evening when my boys were younger, Matthew, then ten, looked at me from across a restaurant table and said quite seriously, “Dad, how come it was more fun when you were a kid?”

I asked what he meant.

“Well, you’re always talking about your woods and tree houses, and how you used to ride that horse down near the swamp.”

At first, I thought he was irritated with me. I had, in fact, been telling him what it was like to use string and pieces of liver to catch crawdads in a creek, something I’d be hard-pressed to find a child doing these days. Like many parents, I do tend to romanticize my own childhood— and, I fear, too readily discount my children’s experiences of play and adventure. But my son was serious; he felt he had missed out on something important.

He was right. Americans around my age, baby boomers or older, enjoyed a kind of free, natural play that seems, in the era of kid pagers, instant messaging, and Nintendo, like a quaint artifact.

Within the space of a few decades, the way children understand and experience nature has changed radically. The polarity of the relationship has reversed. Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment— but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading. That’s exactly the opposite of how it was when I was a child.

As a boy, I was unaware that my woods were ecologically connected with any other forests. Nobody in the 1950s talked about acid rain or holes in the ozone layer or global warming. But I knew my woods and my fields; I knew every bend in the creek and dip in the beaten dirt paths. I wandered those woods even in my dreams. A kid today can likely tell you about the Amazon rain forest—but not about the last time he or she explored the woods in solitude, or lay in a field listening to the wind and watching the clouds move.

This book explores the increasing divide between the young and the natural world, and the environmental, social, psychological, and spiritual implications of that change. It also describes the accumulating research that reveals the necessity of contact with nature for healthy child—and adult—development.

While I pay particular attention to children, my focus is also on those Americans born during the past two to three decades. The shift in our relationship to the natural world is startling, even in settings that one would assume are devoted to nature. Not that long ago, summer camp was a place where you camped, hiked in the woods, learned about plants and animals, or told firelight stories about ghosts or mountain lions. As likely as not today, “summer camp” is a weight-loss camp, or a computer camp. For a new generation, nature is more abstraction than reality. Increasingly, nature is something to watch, to consume, to wear —to ignore. A recent television ad depicts a four-wheel-drive SUV racing along a breathtakingly beautiful mountain stream—while in the backseat two children watch a movie on a flip-down video screen, oblivious to the landscape and water beyond the windows.

A century ago, the historian Frederick Jackson Turner announced that the American frontier had ended. His thesis has been discussed and debated ever since. Today, a similar and more important line is being crossed.

Our society is teaching young people to avoid direct experience in nature. That lesson is delivered in schools, families, even organizations devoted to the outdoors, and codified into the legal and regulatory structures of many of our communities. Our institutions, urban/suburban design, and cultural attitudes unconsciously associate nature with doom—while disassociating the outdoors from joy and solitude. Wellmeaning public-school systems, media, and parents are effectively scaring children straight out of the woods and fields. In the patent-or-perish environment of higher education, we see the death of natural history as the more hands-on disciplines, such as zoology, give way to more theoretical and remunerative microbiology and genetic engineering. Rapidly advancing technologies are blurring the lines between humans, other animals, and machines. The postmodern notion that reality is only a construct—that we are what we program—suggests limitless human possibilities; but as the young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, physiologically and psychologically, and this reduces the richness of human experience.

Yet, at the very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature— in positive ways. Several of these studies suggest that thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can even be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorders and other maladies. As one scientist puts it, we can now assume that just as children need good nutrition and adequate sleep, they may very well need contact with nature.

Reducing that deficit—healing the broken bond between our young and nature—is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demands it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depends upon it. The health of the earth is at stake as well. How the young respond to nature, and how they raise their own children, will shape the configurations and conditions of our cities, homes—our daily lives. The following pages explore an alternative path to the future, including some of the most innovative environment-based school programs; a reimagining and redesign of the urban environment—what one theorist calls the coming “zoopolis”; ways of addressing the challenges besetting environmental groups; and ways that faith-based organizations can help reclaim nature as part of the spiritual development of children. Parents, children, grandparents, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists, and researchers from across the nation speak in these pages. They recognize the transformation that is occurring. Some of them paint another future, in which children and nature are reunited— and the natural world is more deeply valued and protected.

During the research for this book, I was encouraged to find that many people now of college age—those who belong to the first generation to grow up in a largely de-natured environment—have tasted just enough nature to intuitively understand what they have missed. This yearning is a source of power. These young people resist the rapid slide from the real to the virtual, from the mountains to the Matrix. They do not intend to be the last children in the woods.

My sons may yet experience what author Bill McKibben has called “the end of nature,” the final sadness of a world where there is no escaping man. But there is another possibility: not the end of nature, but the rebirth of wonder and even joy. Jackson’s obituary for the American frontier was only partly accurate: one frontier did disappear, but a second one followed, in which Americans romanticized, exploited, protected, and destroyed nature. Now that frontier—which existed in the family farm, the woods at the end of the road, the national parks, and in our hearts—is itself disappearing or changing beyond recognition.

But, as before, one relationship with nature can evolve into another. This book is about the end of that earlier time, but it is also about a new frontier—a better way to live with nature.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Part I : The New Relationship Between Children and Nature
1. Gifts of Nature . . . . 7
2. The Third Frontier . . . . . . 15
3. The Criminalization of Natural Play . . . . . 27

Part II:Why the Young (and the Rest of Us) Need Nature
4. Climbing the Tree of Health . .. 39
5. A Life of the Senses: Nature vs. the Know-It-All State of Mind . . . . . 54
6. The “Eighth Intelligence” . . . 70
7. The Genius of Childhood: How Nature Nurtures Creativity . . .. 85
8. Nature-Deficit Disorder and the Restorative Environment . . . 98

Part III: The Best of Intentions: Why Johnnie and Jeannie Don’t Play Outside Anymore
9. Time and Fear .. . . 115
10. The Bogeyman Syndrome Redux . . . . . 123
11. Don’t Know Much About Natural History: Education as a Barrier to Nature .. 132
12. Where Will Future Stewards of Nature Come From? . . . 145

Part IV: The Nature-Child Reunion
13. Bringing Nature Home . . . 161
14. Scared Smart: Facing the Bogeyman . . . . 176
15. Telling Turtle Tales: Using Nature as a Moral Teacher . 187

Part V: The Jungle Blackboard
16. Natural School Reform . . . 201
17. Camp Revival . . . 223

Part VI: Wonder Land: Opening the Fourth Frontier
18. The Education of Judge Thatcher: Decriminalizing Natural Play . .. 233
19. Cities Gone Wild . .. 239
20. Where the Wild Things Will Be: A New Back-to-the-Land Movement . . . . 265

Part VII: To Be Amazed
21. The Spiritual Necessity of Nature for the Young . . . . . . 285
22. Fire and Fermentation: Building a Movement . . . . 301
23. While It Lasts . . . . 309

Notes 311
Suggested Reading 321
Index 325

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2007

    Love the idea, couldn't get through the book

    This topic is fascinating to me, but I simply could not make it through this book. It wasn't very well organized, and was very hard to follow. I got the feeling the same info could have been organized and condensed into a book half the size. I recommend it for the subject matter, but not for style.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2007

    LONG OVER-DUE!!!

    In this age of over-indulgence, a child's every whim can be commercially satisfied. Meanwhile, our youth's connection to the natural world has become over-structured and minimal at best. This book brings to light the dire situation,as well as, hope- filled alternatives. A must read for parents, teachers, grandparents, and anyone who cares about a child!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2006

    Moving Forward by Going Back (to Nature)

    I found this book to be many things - a call to attention, a warning, an explanation, and a prescription for a problem affecting many in today's world. The implications for children are tremendous and any parent, educator, or other person working directly with the public (especially the young) will benefit from the core message of the book: it is time to go back to nature. So, put down that electronic game, turn off that computer, grab the kids and GO OUTSIDE! Play in the mud, hunt for bugs, build fortresses, learn the names of what's growing near your home. Parents and children alike will feel better, think better, and be better for it - all the better for tomorrow's world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2006

    Best insight yet

    This is SUCH a good book for any parent or even people who love the outdoors. The statistics of America's future generations are apalling. It's definately a wake up call. Every now and then you here this blurb about 'oh, your kid probably watches to much TV, this is why it's not good for them....' or 'oh yep, child obesity, it's a problem...' but Richard Louv hits the nail right on the head with this book. I'm addicted to it. I'm in love with this book. Kids are obese and bored for a reason. They play video games for a reason, its an escape. Escape outside, together, do your kids a world of a favor, give them memories of you, let them know that there is something better out there. Right outside your back door.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)