Richard Louv wrote the book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. This book illustrates the changes that have taken place from approximately three generations ago when children played outside and learned about their world through natural experiences to a generation now that is not "connected" to nature because without prompting, most children no longer go outside to play. A reduction in time spent outside seems to increase behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder, whereas more time outside increases an understanding of the natural world, relieves stress, and reduces undesirable behaviors. His second book, The Nature Principle, delivers another powerful call to action—this time for adults.
Visit the Children & Nature Network national website to see what programs are offered in the Commonwealth. The Children & Nature Network includes ideas for getting kids outside. Check out Nature Rocks: Let's Go Explore and learn how to start a local program in your region.
Providing a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) to all children before they graduate from high school.
There are two primary goals of a MWEE. They are to:
American Hiking Society
There are 10 Virginia chapters. Join a chapter or learn how to get one started.
Blue Sky Fund
Provide transformational experiences for urban youth through outdoor education.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has gardens designed for children. The garden also offers educational classes for adults and teacher workshops.
Martinsville - Henry County Community Nature Initiative
Sponsored by the Virginia Museum of Natural History with a grant from the Harvest Foundation.
Participate in outdoor activities in Northern Virginia through volunteer activities, events, teacher training, student opportunities, and funding.
Richmond Audubon Society
The Richmond Audubon Society works with children yearround to get them outdoors. They take children kayaking, rock climbing, hiking and teach them about wildlife.
Roanoke Valley Kids Club
Kids in the valley, adventuring!
Stafford Virginia Outdoor Kids Activities
Outdoor activities for families in and around Stafford which includes historical places to visit, parks and playgrounds, sporting events, and other things to see and do that get the family outside.
Virginia Cooperative Extension
The Natural Resources and Environmental Education program of 4-H offers projects in wildlife, forestry, fishing, outdoor adventure, and environmental education.
Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation
Information about state parks, natural heritage, soil and water conservation, and special events.
Virginia Master Gardener Program
The Virginia Master Gardener Program is a statewide corps of volunteers that provide education and outreach pertaining to gardening.
Virginia Master Naturalist Program
Satewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.
Virginia State Parks
Educational programs for families and recreational opportunities
Virginia Tourism - Get Outside
Information about what Virginia has to offer in sports and recreation, golf, parks, water and winter sports, guides and equipment, hunting fishing, and Captain John Smith's Trail.
National Public Lands Day
This website invites you to get outside and enjoy public lands. Try outdoor play, hiking, biking, birding, etc. This website has links to other sites to help you make plans to go outside.
No Child Left Inside Coalition
The Coalition is working to support legislation to ensure that every student achieves basic environmental literacy. The No Child Left Inside Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) to include environmental education. The legislation would provide new funding for environmental education, particularly to develop rigorous standards, train teachers and to develop state environmental literacy plans. It also proposes giving states that develop environmental literacy plans access to additional funds.
Outdoor Recreation in America
National events calendar for outdoor activities. Outdoor Recreation in America is sponsored by the American Recreation Coalition. Their mission is to protect public lands and enhance outdoor recreational activities.
Take Me Fishing
Everything you need to know to get started fishing with the family and the kids. Includes a "Little Lunkers" page to teach kids about fish.
Virginia Fishing Adventures
Offers outdoor adventures for both children and adults. Includes camping and guided day trips.
Offers fishing, mountain biking, afterschool enrichment programs and weekend programs such as snorkeling in the James River Park System for boys and girls 1st - 5th grade.