Rosyfinch Ramblings
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March 2008
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“Nature Deficit Disorder”
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Grandchildren
Posted by: Ken @ 6:58 pm

Will the real bird watchers please look up! (Can you pick out Grandpa?)

It’s an eagle!!! Oh, well, only a Turkey Vulture, but so magnificent in flight.

Recently, there have been interesting Birdchat threads on “Fledgling birders” and “Engaging young birders,” and “Why the lack of young ones?” They included some excellent links worth exploring, If you, as have Mary Lou and I, been engaged in educating youngsters in the wonders of nature and the particular thrills of observing wild things, you have shared in their excitement as they watched a cicada emerge from its larval shell, a predatory wasp capture a caterpillar, or a hummingbird feed its fragile chicks.

Start with the Birdchat archives and look for the above threads. Birdchat RSS feed is also available in panel to your left.

This link will lead you to National Public Radio, with a great feature on “Saving Kids from ‘Nature Deficit Disorder,’” addressing such factors as video games, TV, fear of insects, snakes, germs, predators, and yes, pedophiles. They all keep the kids from enjoying the outdoors the way I did with my Dad and my buddies on the floodplain of the Passaic River in the 1940s, and how I now want our grandchildren to appreciate nature. It describes the “biophilia hypothesis,” the need in all of us to be connected with nature. Also of interest is this Nature Conservancy interview with Oliver Pergams of the University of Illinois-Chicago and Patricia Zaradic of the Environmental Leadership Program, authors of the study that provided evidence of an alarming decline in nature-related activities since 1980: Do People Still Care About Nature?

Look who’s “connected,” in this family pose, as a seagull flew over:

Parents must have enthusiasm for nature, whether it be hunting, hiking, fishing, or just experiencing the beauty of the local park or the mystery within every patch of weeds.This “Hooked on Nature Blog, “Go Outside and Play” discusses Last Children in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder.

And, don’t miss reading “Kids Are Picking TV Over Trees,” in which authors Oliver Pergams, Ph.D. and Patricia Zaradic, Ph.D. state that “The greatest threat to conservation may be more subtle than bulldozers and chainsaws… Direct experience with nature is the most highly cited influence on environmental attitude and conservation activism.” The researchers added that “if the youngest generation loses that experience, the future of conservation is in jeopardy.”

Finally, my favorite grandbaby shots (forgive me for bragging, and repeating myself):

KJ Jr in the Sandias.

KJ Jr & G'pa

Hiking Palo Duro Canyon.

A sparrow!