U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



J. Raptor Res. 48(4):414–421.


U.S. government work.


Recent research in childhood education has demonstrated that experiences in nature are important in shaping early environmental consciousness (Hinds and Sparks 2008, Hussar and Horvath 2011, Cheng and Monroe 2012) and ultimately the expression of pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors during adulthood (Wells and Lekies 2006, Chawla and Cushing 2007, Collado et al. 2013). Increasingly, those experiences happen via written and electronic media (e.g., textbooks, computer screens) or in very anthropogenic environments (e.g., in parks and zoos) and less through direct contact with nature, a concept Louv (2005) referred to as ‘‘nature deficit disorder.’’ Even in schools where environmental education is prioritized, the extent of access to outdoor classroom activities or experiential learning opportunities can limit the degree to which children can observe, explore, and directly experience the natural world (Hudson 2001, Louv 2005, Ernst 2009). Interestingly, the same information technologies that might serve to limit contact with nature also have the potential to enhance and encourage interest and concern for the natural world (Blewitt 2011, Pearson et al. 2011). We believe this is an important paradox that warrants much further exploration and evaluation within educational and scientific communities.

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