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Connecting people with their parks

The Cure for ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’

When was the last time you went outside and really enjoyed the natural world around you? We don’t mean mowing the grass or running to the mailbox with a quick glance at a pink Charleston sunset. We spend most of our time indoors, eyes on the electronic connections, not the natural ones.

Over at the site DisneyDads.com, Juliane Hiam takes a look at a new book by Richard Louv called “The Nature Principle.” In it he expands on the concept of “Nature Deficit Disorder” that he introduced in his book “Last Child in the Woods.” Louv’s latest writings expand this disorder from children to the entire family. Louv is also the founder of the Children & Nature Network with a mission of connecting children, families and communities to nature.

“According to Louv, parents need to connect with nature just as much as their children, and, what’s more, nature can be the glue that holds your entire family together,” writes Hiam.

She goes on to note, “Nature, Louv asserts, improves clarity of thinking, increases productivity and physical health, calms one’s natural rhythms, and generally puts people in a happier, freer, more receptive state of mind. In other words, to experience our family members in nature is to experience them at their very best.”

What a lovely idea and one, if we think about it, probably very much rings true. If you think of those stolen moments at the park or splashing in the waves at the beach or hiking along a mountain trail those are probably some of your family’s most special memories.

Here in Charleston we’ve enjoyed some pretty spring-like days this winter and, for us, spring truly is just a around the corner. Will you and your family commit to being more connected to nature? Why not challenge yourselves to spending at least two hours each weekend outside? What kind of difference would it make?

We’d love to hear about your experience and how you’re connecting with nature. And if you need some assistance, visit our Park Directory for a list of the more than 120 parks and green spaces in the city of Charleston.

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