Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Char Miller

Reader 2

Marc Los Huertos

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Rights Information

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In 2005, the term Nature-deficit disorder was coined by Richard Louv to describe the childhood costs of alienation from nature including diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses. The increasing use of technology, stricter parenting, local ordinances, biophobia, socioeconomic status, and coronavirus all contribute to Nature-deficit disorder. To mitigate and reverse Nature-deficit disorder and its consequences, children must connect with nature. Nature connection improves children’s health and wellbeing and increases environmentally responsible behavior. Nature connection can improve physical, spiritual, psychological, and social wellbeing. Children who spend more time in nature report lower rates of depression and reduced stress.

In my thesis, I explore how children connect to nature, the benefits from such connection, and the role environmental education has in increasing children’s learning experiences in nature; feature environmental education’s efforts to incorporate Indigenous worldviews, traditional ecological knowledge, and ways of relating to the natural world; and highlight Forest Schools’ efforts to implement hands-on, play-based, child-led, and outdoors-centered learning. I argue that environmental education is uniquely positioned to connect children with nature through Indigenous environmental education programs and Forest Schools, thereby improving childhood wellbeing and promoting environmental stewardship.