Introducing Children and Nature Network’s Research and Studies

Parents and grandparents, friends, family, teachers, physicians and concerned citizens—people want to do what is right and best for children. With that in mind, we at the Children & Nature Network have set out to compile a premier set of research studies to help us all understand what’s best for children’s healthy development. One major result—which we’ve known for a while, and which led us to form the Children & Nature Network—is that nature is good for children.

Why do we even need to say something that seems so obvious? In the past 20 to 30 years, without most of us realizing what was happening, lifestyle changes have accumulated with powerful and pervasive detrimental effects on children. Obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder, impaired social skills and even what some, including Richard Louv, are calling a “culture of depression” are adding to the stress levels and severely impacting our young. Those are physical and psycho-social characteristics of the changes. And then there is more—less time outdoors, more time with electronic technology, little free and unstructured time, and even a 30% decrease in bicycle riding!

Well-intended parents drive themselves literally in circles to take their children to and from school, after school activities, sports events, dance class, clubs, church and social events. All of these activities have the potential to be of value, but things are out of balance.

The result? Children have little free time. Their lives are structured, organized, and timed nearly to the minute. When they are home, and could be playing out doors, they are often tied to electronic umbilica. Technology is not the culprit. Things are out of balance.

As one part pf C&NN’s commitment to building a movement to re-connect children and nature, we want all of us to be equipped with facts and resources. So, we have created the C&NN Research and Studies, a feature of the C&NN website.

These are just a few of the major findings to be found in a review of the research concerning the beneficial effects of the natural environment on children’s health and well-being.

Children are smarter, cooperative, happier and healthier when they have frequent and varied opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors.

We with the Children & Nature Network think it is important to share these research findings far and wide. That’s why we are delighted to provide the first edition of C&NN’s Research and Studies Volume 1, 2 and 3. Share these summaries, full articles and links with others. Spread the word—nature is good for children.

Cheryl Charles, Ph.D.
President, C&NN
Editor, C&NN Research and Studies

Research Volume 1
Research Volume 2
Research Volume 3

"Why Dirt Is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends," by immunologist Mary Ruebush, Ph.D.