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Boshack and Nature Deficit Disorder

Boshack and Nature Deficit Disorder

Boshack and Nature Deficit Disorder

Three years ago the Head of Outdoor Education of government schools from a nearby country visited Boshack Outback to assess its readiness to accept children for school field trips. They had established that the aggression and short tempers in the classroom were bought about by children being in more confined spaces and the continual use of computers, ipods and computer games.

Through our farmstays, school field trips and staff retreats, we provide the most natural environment for visitors to get the best of nature:

* isolation – no major roads for 15 kilometres with noisy traffic
* ideal location – in the middle of 1000 acres of bush surrounded by farmlands
* biodiversity
* self sustainability – fish, organic vegetables, hydroponics , worm farm, freshwater, solar power
* bush corridors – between bushland for animals to move around. Allow nature to develop naturally
* bush walks
* canoeing

What is Nature Deficit Disorder?

Nature deficit disorder refers to stunted academic and developmental growth and behavioural problems. It is caused by a cumulative effect of withdrawing nature from children’s experiences. Nature deficit disorder is a term coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods”.

However, we argue that nature deficit disorder does not exist in children only. Adults can show the symptoms too – increased feelings of stress, trouble paying attention, feelings of not being rooted in the world. This problem is affecting our families, communities, and environment. It is really a disorder of society – and children are victimised by it.

Is this just an urban problem, or does it affect children in suburban and rural areas as well?

For my research, I tried to cross every barrier I could think of — for instance, I did interviews in more rural areas and suburban areas, like the one I grew up in outside Kansas City, which still has a lot of nature. I went in there thinking, Well, certainly if you have woods next to you, kids will be out in them. But that simply wasn’t true. The parents and the kids there were saying the same things as kids in more urban areas. In fact, the amount of nature you have in New York City is actually better than some of the newer suburbs; imagine, today, a city building a Central Park.

A major study came out a few months ago that said that the rate of obesity in children is growing faster in rural areas than it is in cities and suburbs. Again, it seems counterintuitive. But it’s not so counterintuitive when you think about the fact that the family farm is fairly nonexistent now. Kids in rural areas are playing the same video games, watching the same television, and they’re on longer car rides.

– Richard Louv, an International writer and observer on this problem.


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