Restoring Nature Literacy: Developing a Nature-Based Afterschool Program to Restore Connection Between Children and their Local Natural Environment
Children are spending significantly less time outdoors compared to children of previous generations. Increase use of technology, lack of nearby natural areas, and concerns for risk and safety have all contributed to a generation of children spending much of their time indoors. As a result, a disconnection between children and nature has occurred. Research suggests benefits of spending time in nature include increased physical activity, reduced stress, and development of a fondness for nature. The purpose of my project was to develop an experiential nature-based afterschool program for school-aged children. My hope was to restore fading ecological knowledge by reconnecting children with their local natural environment through a series of outdoor physical and social activities. Feedback at the end of the project suggested children acquired new ecological knowledge and skills while enjoying their time spent in nature. Success of project could be used to inform future nature-based after school programs.