Please forward this nature is the best teacher essay screen to sharedip-1071804170. Please forward this error screen to sharedip-1071804170. A back-to-nature movement to reconnect children with the outdoors is burgeoning nationwide.
Not long after the first publication of Last Child in the Woods in 2005, I found myself wandering down a path toward the Milwaukee River, where it runs through urban Riverside Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At first glance, nothing seemed unusual about the young people I encountered. A group of inner-city high school students, they dressed in standard hip-hop fashion. As they cast their fishing lines from the muddy bank, they laughed with pleasure, delighted by the lazy brown river and the landscape of the surrounding park. I walked through the woods to the two-story Urban Ecology Center, made of lumber and other material recycled from abandoned buildings. When this park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the founder of American landscape architecture, and established in the late nineteenth century, it was a tree-lined valley with a waterfall, a hill for sledding, and places for skating and swimming, fishing and boating.
Pollution made the river unfit for human contact, park maintenance declined, families fled, violent crime and drug dealing moved in. Riverside Park became associated with blight, not beauty. A dam on the river was removed, and natural water flow flushed out contaminants. A retired biophysicist started a small outdoor-education program which evolved into the nonprofit Urban Ecology Center, annually hosting more than eighteen thousand student visits from twenty-three area schools. We climbed to the top of a wooden tower, overlooking the park.
No serious violent crime has occurred in the park in the past five years,» he told me. We see environmental education as a great tool for urban revitalization. The center welcomes kids and their families from the surrounding neighborhoods so they can begin to associate the woods with joy and exploration, as memories of danger fade. For decades environmental educators, conservationists, naturalists, and others have worked, often heroically, to bring more children to nature, usually with inadequate support from policy-makers. Nature Network, for which I now serve as chairman, to track and encourage this movement. By the time you read this, much more will have occurred, but as of spring 2008, in the United States, Canada, and abroad, we see progress among state and national legislatures, conservation groups, schools and businesses, government agencies and civic organizations.