Welcome to a happy cause. Many of us believe it’s time for a New Nature Movement, one that includes but goes beyond traditional environmentalism – one that connects children and adults to the natural world. Here are a few examples for how to apply the Nature Principle where we live, work, learn and play. A much longer list is available here.
Becoming a Citizen Naturalist
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers the Celebrate Urban Birds program in English and Spanish, focusing on species often found in urban neighborhoods.
- In King County, Washington, the Native Plant Salvage Program sponsors “plant salvagers” who save native plants threatened by development.
Knowing Who You Are by Knowing
Where You Are
- Exploring a Sense of Place provides the means by which people anywhere on Earth can reconnect to the natural world where they live. ESP offers leadership training and local courses in several bioregions around the U.S. and abroad.
- Planet Drum Foundation, sponsors publications, speakers, and workshops to help start new bioregional groups and encourages local organizations and individuals to find ways to live within the natural confines of bioregions.
Creating Restorative Homes & Gardens
- The Pollinator Partnership. This nonprofit collaborates with scientists, researchers, government officials and others to “support the health of pollinating animals and the plants and habitat they support.” This includes the food we eat and flowers we enjoy.
- National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitats program shows how to safely encourage wildlife in public and private spaces.
Creating a “natural health care system”
- The Prescription Trails program was launched in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in an effort to fight the high rate of diabetes there, and is partially funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- International Community for Ecopsychology serves as a link for those interested in this topic. The organization’s journal, Gatherings, is a good starting point.
Developing Restorative Neighborhoods and Cities
- Biophilic Cities Project, an international research initiative organized by Tim Beatley at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture.
- The Center for Whole Communities aims to create a more just, balanced and healthy world by exploring, honoring, and deepening the connections among land, people and community.
- The Natural Learning Initiative works to naturalize early childhood neighborhood play and learning environments, as part of the Institute of Medicine Task Force policy strategy on preventing childhood obesity.
Becoming New Agrarians
- The Quivira Coaltion brings together ranchers and environmentalists to foster ecological, economic and social health on Western landscapes through education and public and private land stewardship.
- Your Backyard Farmer, an innovative approach to community-supported agriculture through urban backyard farming.
Creating Restorative Schools
- C&NN’s Natural Teachers Network offers a connection point, as well as updated research and tools, to educators of all kinds who connect their students, parents and other teachers to the natural world.
- Green Teacher magazine, available in English, Spanish, and French. Also, the Learning with Nature Idea Book, published by the Arbor Day Foundation.
Strengthening Families Through Nature
- The Sierra Club’s Military Family Outdoor Initiative provides returning veterans and their families with healing outdoor experiences.
- C&NN’s Nature Clubs for Families tool kit, in English or Spanish. Individual clubs range from two families to over 600 families.
Applying the Nature Principle in Business
- The Biomimicry Institute promotes learning from and then emulating natural forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more sustainable and healthier human technologies and designs.
- Green for All works nationally to build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
These are samples from a more extensive Field Guide to the New Nature Movement which includes over 120 resources drawn largely from “The Nature Principle” and “Last Child in the Woods.” The resource guide will be updated from time to time. It’s a work in progress. Naturally.
And, of course, the Children &Nature Network provides hundreds of examples of how to get involved, with tools to help you do that.
Richard Louv is Chairman Emeritus of The Children and Nature Network and the author of THE NATURE PRINCIPLE: Reconnecting with Life in a Digital Age and LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.
Photo: by R.L., taken at a Santa Barbara nature preschool
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