Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life

Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life

by Richard Louv


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Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life by Richard Louv

From the author of the New York Times bestseller that defined nature-deficit disorder and launched the international children-and-nature movement, Vitamin N (for “nature”) is a complete prescription for connecting with the power and joy of the natural world right now, with

  • 500 activities for children and adults
  • Dozens of inspiring and thought-provoking essays
  • Scores of informational websites
  • Down-to-earth advice
In his landmark work Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv was the first to bring widespread attention to the alienation of children from the natural world, coining the term nature-deficit disorder and outlining the benefits of a strong nature connection—from boosting mental acuity and creativity to reducing obesity and depression, from promoting health and wellness to simply having fun. That book “rivaled Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring” (the Cincinnati Enquirer), was “an absolute must-read for parents” (the Boston Globe), and “an inch-thick caution against raising the fully automated child” (the New York Times). His  follow-up book, The Nature Principle, addressed the needs of adults and outlined a “new nature movement and its potential to improve the lives of all people no matter where they live” (McClatchy Newspapers).Vitamin N is a one-of-a-kind, comprehensive, and practical guidebook for the whole family and the wider community, including tips not only for parents eager to share nature with their kids but also for those seeking nature-smart schools, medical professionals, and even careers. It is a dose of pure inspiration, reminding us that looking up at the stars or taking a walk in the woods is as exhilarating as it is essential, at any age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616205782
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 04/01/2016
Pages: 306
Sales rank: 134,130
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Richard Louv, recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal, is the author of seven books, including Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle. The chairman of the Children & Nature Network (, he is also honorary cochair of the National Forum on Children and Nature. He has written for the San Diego Union-Tribune, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and other newspapers and magazines. He has appeared on The Early Show, Good Morning America, Today, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Morning Edition, Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation, and many other programs. For more information, visit

Table of Contents

In Search of a Nature-Rich Life xiii

A Note to Readers xvii

Part 1 The Gift of Memory 1

You're Not Alone: Strengthening the Bonds of Family and Friendship 3

Start from Day One 4

Simple Ways to Expand Time and Space for Kids and Adults 7

Give the Gifts of Nature and Create New Family and Friendship Rituals 10

Make Room for Independent Play and Solitude 14

Part 2 Ways of Knowing the World 21

The Hybrid Mind 23

Counteract Sensory Dysfunction 24

Hidden Superpowers 26

Extra Ways to Develop Extra-vision 29

Discover the Lost Art of Finding Your Way 31

Try a Little Mindfulness 35

High-Tech, High-Nature? 39

Go Wildsnapping 40

Be a Soundcatcher 42

Natural Creativity: Do It, Build it, Paint It, Play It 49

Small Projects for Small Hands 50

More Challenging Construction Projects 51

Discover the Art of Nature 56

Nature Writing 60

These Games (from Around the World) Will Not Be Digitized 61

Part 3 The Nature-Rich Home and Garden 69

Everyday Eden 71

Make Good Use of What You Already Have 72

Build a Backyard Nature Preserve 75

The Yard, Balcony, or Rooftop Farm 81

The Restorative Home: Bring the Outside In 87

Buy, Build, or Rent a Family Getaway Cabin 91

Part 4 Nurturing Natural Resilience 95

Don't Cut Down the Tree; Build Up the Kid 97

Be a Natural Neighbor 103

A Brief Developmental Guide to Nature Play 105

Leave No Child (or Anyone Else) Inside 107

Call in the Reinforcements: Grand Ideas for Grandparents & Grandfriends 110

The Hummingbird Parent 113

Part 5 Go Wild and Wilder 117

The Wild Nearby 119

Explore Nearby Nature 120

Bond with Your Bioregion 123

Become a Citizen Naturalist 125

Wilder Still 131

Step It Up 131

Set Up Camp 133

Get Wet and Wetter 135

Ride and Roll 136

Go to Extremes 138

Nurture Your Inner Hunter & Gatherer 140

Be a Wildwatcher 143

Practice Wildcrafting 148

Part 6 Grow Outside: The Nature Prescription 153

Healthy by Nature 155

Create Your Own Nature Gym 157

General Outdoor Strategies for Physical and Mental Health 161

Visit a Nature Therapy Retreat 165

Go On Your Own Nature Retreat for Mental Health 167

Be a Weather Warrior 171

Activities and Safety Tips for Cold, Wet, and Snowy Weather 171

Activities and Safety Tips for Very Hot Weather 175

The Indoor Expedition: For When You Can't Go Outside 178

Be a Weather Detective 181

Part 7 The School of Nature 187

Be a Natural Teacher, at Home and at School 189

Ignite Natural Learning at Home and School 190

The Nature-Rich School: How Parents and Teachers Can Support One Another as Natural Teachers 195

Create a Support System for Nature-Based Education 201

Use Your Parent/Teacher Political Power in the Community 204

Honor the Natural Teachers in Schools, Home, and Community 206

Part 8 The Nature-Rich Community 211

Not Back to Nature, Forward to Nature 213

What Every Parent, Teacher, and Young Person Needs to Know about the Coming Opportunities in Nature-Smart Careers 215

The Essential Role of Libraries in Creating Nature-Rich Communities 221

Make Your City the Best in the Nation (or the World) for Connecting Families to Nature 226

Peace Like a River 235

Acknowledgments 241

Bibliography and Recommended Reading 243

Notes 253

How to Get Involved in the New Nature Movement 261

About Richard Louv 261

Index 263

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