Why Do We Need T3?

Teens To Trails's picture
Why Do We Need Teens To Trails?
What we know about teens:

Today’s teens are over stressed & over committed, impacting both their mental and physical health. Nearly 8 million young people suffer from mental disorders. Teen suicides are increasing. There is an epidemic of childhood obesity. Forty percent show early signs of heart and circulation problems. Our youth are choosing video games, television, and surfing the web over visiting parks and being outside.** Our teens are suffering from nature-deficit disorder, a descriptive phrase coined to help sound a warning about this growing trend. ***

What we know about the power of nature:

The idea that natural landscapes can be therapeutic is an ancient one. In tests, people respond strongly and positively to open, grassy landscapes, scattered stands of trees, meadows, water, winding trails, and elevated views. Contact with nature nurtures creativity and wonder, which is as important to young people as good nutrition and adequate sleep. Research directly links the absence of nature in the lives of today's youth to some of the most disturbing trends in childhood obesity, attention disorders, and depression.***

What we need to do:

We need to acknowledge the importance of nature in our lives. “Unstructured” time spent in the out-of-doors is not just leisure time -- it’s an essential investment in our children’s health. We need to provide our teens with opportunities for outdoor experiences and they will enter nature through doors of their own creation.

**Read about The Nature Conservancy-funded study published in the Journal of Environmental Management, July 2006

***Richard Louv's book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005) is the first book to bring together a body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. You will want to read it.