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What is Nature Deficit Disorder?

By Molly   •   August 1, 2012

The Need for Green!

Living in Durango, one is able to walk for about ten minutes and can find his or herself on a hiking trail and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Needless to say, we are very fortunate to have this luxury. Others, however, are not quite as lucky as we are, and are often living in an urban setting that leaves these people wanting, or in some cases fearing, what we take for granted. This is something that has been called Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). Let’s examine the causes, effects and prevention!

NDD is not a medical condition, only a description of the side effects of spending a large amount of time indoors. In recent years, children have been spending more time indoors watching TV, playing video games and surfing the Internet. They have been spending much less time outside playing and being active.  This leads to a diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses and it can even change behaviors of children in large cities.

Childhood obesity, asthma and Attention Deficit Disorder can all be effects of NDD. Kurt Hahn, a leader in experiential education, believed that everyone should be trained in 10 expeditionary learning principles that include self-discovery, empathy and caring and learning by success and failure. With out learning by these principles, kids develop a “know-it-all” state of mind, meaning that they are receiving their information from instantaneous sources like the Internet and not learning from experience. Not only is it frustrating trying to deal with these kids, they will refuse to learn anything that requires effort on their part.

To prevent NDD from happening, parents should be placing their children in environments that will foster a desire to learn without the use of technology and encourage them to use their imagination when playing. They do not need to use technology as a crutch when they are perfectly capable of creating a marvelous world by using their minds. When signing up for a summer camp, make sure that the camp is outdoor orientated and that focus on unstructured playtime. Finally, they just need to make sure that the child can actually get outside to play, even if its only in the backyard.

Nature Deficit Disorder is a serious condition that must be taken care of before it is too late for the next generations. Check out some great options at Mild to Wild that can help:
77 Adventure Options

Check out our website to learn more about our 77 mild, intermediate and wild adventure options, and fulfill your need for green!

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