This July marks the 30th annual National Parks and Recreation Month. These government-based organizations offer outdoor activities including golf, fishing, swimming, skateboarding, and biking. They partner with valuable outdoor, conservationist, and educational organizations. They develop and maintain local parks and trails with free access to the community. Our Parks and Rec departments are an important part of our local communities and serve millions of visitors every year. Not only do they encourage us to get outdoors, they also ensure we have free, easily accessible places for our favorite open-air activities!
As our daily schedules become increasingly busy and our entertainment choices continue to draw us inside, human beings are spending less time in their outdoor environment and are at risk of losing touch with the outdoors, nature, and wildlife. Today’s youth spends less time in the outside air than any preceding generation. Decreasing nature-based activities leads to the development of Nature Deficit Disorder, a concept first introduced in 2005 by Richard Louv in his best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods. This is not a medical issue per se. Rather it describes humans’ increasingly lacking relationship with the environment and results from too little time spent outside. Many people facing Nature Deficit Disorder are not aware of the problem. Parks and Rec departments play an important role in combating these issues. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to educate community members and facilitate outdoor fun – our time outside is key to building empathy for the environment and protecting our planet.
The National Recreation and Park Association conducted a national survey entitled “OUT is IN.” The purpose was to gauge American adults’ opinions and behaviors concerning outdoor time. The survey included 1,005 adults nationally and the findings are surprising. For example, 3 of ten adults admit to not spending time outdoors on a daily basis. Supporting Parks and Rec and spending time in their resources can combat these issues. As the summer months come along, do your part to overcome Nature Deficit Disorder – get outside and encourage your friends and family to do
To learn more about the OUT is IN survey, see their infographic below.