Last Child in the Woods-my review



You must read this book!  

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv was recommended to me a dozen times.  Have you ever heard the term "Nature deficit disorder"?  That's from here.  We need to save our children from losing their connection with nature. We need to continue the imprinting process that we went through when we explored fields and forests, built forts, and picked wild strawberries or flowers.  

Have you ever been on a walk through a quiet forest early in the morning?  The sun starts to trickle through the trees and suddenly everything is gorgeous.  You want to remember how the leaves looked, the brilliant shade of green of the moss, the fungi on the trees, the smell of all things FRESH, the birds singing, the squirrels chasing.  Complete sensory overload in an amazing way-maybe you snap photos that don't quite capture it, write about it, sketch pictures, or somehow try to cement it in your memory.  

Louv's book had that effect on me.  Every page had me wanting to race to Facebook or my blog to post the most amazing quote.  Ironic, of course, for a book on nature, but I somehow wanted to remember everything he wrote.  

Interesting that I didn't write down a word while I was reading because I couldn't pick and choose.  

It's pretty easy to sum up the book-get our kids outside, give them freedom to explore nature, schedule them less, get them off phones, video games, and tv.  Keep their playgrounds as true to nature as possible- the best play happens on those boundary areas-the cluster of trees, the rolling hill.  For year I've noticed that we rarely last for long on the playground equipment, but usually end up tracking bunny prints under the evergreens, or some other diversion.  

When I see birches bend to left and right... 
I like to think that some boy's been swinging them.    (Robert Frost)

How about the eight intelligences in the multiple intelligence theory?  That would be our naturalist intelligence or nature smart.  Being able to distinguish plants, animals and other parts of our natural environment, which better helps us to see our connection with our natural environment.  So simple, but its rare now to take a class where you will learn the classification of plants or animals.  Instead you're more likely to learn how technology and genes can help to create the next patent.  

Nature nurtures our creativity, our esteem, restores us, brings us greater health, has even been described as a natural Ritalin for attention concerns.  One unpublished study showed that a 20 minute walk in a natural setting park had more of a restorative effect on unmedicated kids with ADHD, then a 20 minute walk in a downtown or residential neighborhood. 

 If you have an environment where your attention is automatic- which is fascination attention- you are in a restorative mode, versus an environment with competing stimuli where you require directed attention which leads to fatigue, impulsiveness, and inattention.  I feel like that describes the contrast between outside and inside; nature and man-made; farm and city; forest and building.  

Have you heard about the concept of a zoopolis?  Yes, a city that is friendly to nature.  Preserving parks and natural features and wildlife.  I do feel that our city of Calgary has done a good job of this-our Bow River runs right through the city with parks all along it, we have numerous natural areas and parks, and I for one have seen deer, rabbits, porcupine, and more within city limits-whether its safe for them here or not.  We have our beloved zoo, unique community food gardens, and a natural indoor oasis in the middle of downtown.  Plus, the Rockies are at our doorstep in one direction, and stretches of plains in the other.  So much to experience. 

There was a time when meadow, grove and stream
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream              (Wordsworth)

Yes, at times, nature can scare us.  Sometimes the power of nature can be too much.  Yes the strangers in our neighborhood may also keep out children close to us, indoors.  But please pick up this book and learn what we can do for our kids health and the health of our communities.  Your school would love a copy, too!  

I played around our yard some and talked to the fence posts, 
sung songs and made the weeds sing...             (Woody Guthrie).  

Poetry and Nature belongs together, don't they?  All of these quotes are from the book.  


Comments

  1. Sounds like a great book for all parents. Nature and important element for kids to connect with!

    ReplyDelete

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