Thursday, July 05, 2007

Leave No Child Inside

The June gathering of Leafing Through the Pages, the Sterling Morton Library’s book discussion group, was a rich and thought provoking conversation about Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. Since our discussion, I’ve been exploring some additional resources on the topic.

In the recent issue of Chicago Wilderness (Summer 2007), there is a special report: People : Nurture & Nature by Katherine Millett. This report “examines how we and our children connect with nature—and how those behavioral patterns may affect the future.” It is a thoughtful article worth exploring. Part of a national movement, a new multi-year initiative called Leave No Child Inside recently has been launched “aimed at fostering generations of children who care enough for nature to protect it” by the 206 Chicago Wilderness member organizations. Many of the Chicago Wilderness organizations will be presenting a number of activities and events related to this initiative. For more, see

Also within Millett’s report is a description of Conservation Psychology. For more details, see As noted from the website: Conservation psychology is the scientific study of the reciprocal relationships between humans and the rest of nature, with a particular focus on how to encourage conservation of the natural world. This website has a particularly rich resource section highlighting key articles, books, journals, courses and research tools.

Within the Sterling Morton Library, there are a host of resources relating to children and nature, conservation psychology and plants/people. At the Arboretum, we’ve had a long history of leaders in these fields including May T. Watts and Charles Lewis. In the Library, we have papers, documents, photographs, and artwork of May T. Watts, founder of the Arboretum's education program and renowned teacher, author, and naturalist. Charles A. Lewis, horticulturist, long-time Arboretum staff member and author of Green Nature/Human Nature: the Meaning of Plants in our Lives, was a frequent library user and encouraged us to acquire resources exploring the relationship of people and plants. Additionally, to support the efforts of The Morton Arboretum, the Library has a children’s book collection, a number of resources on gardening with children and an exploration of people-plant interactions.

Additional resources of interest:

So … get outside! Visit The Morton Arboretum! Or, if you have to be inside, spend your time in the Sterling Morton Library and challenge yourself to learn more about plants and nature.

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