By Jimmy Spiegel, OCE Intern
According to the National Recreation and Parks Association, children are averaging seven and a half hours in front of electronic media a day taking away from valuable time they should be spending outdoors. This time outside is not only good for getting exercise but a necessity in order to energize the brain for kids to focus and do well in school.
While any time spent moving outside is beneficial and protects students from the short and long-term changes to the brain caused by low physical activity, quality time connected with nature may provide additional benefits. Francis Kuo, professor of environmental sciences and psychology at the University of Illinois studies the connection between environmental factors and social, psychological, and physical health. Her research supports the idea that nature is essential to these components of human health and wellness. Keo reminds us that humans are organisms and the environment is our habitat, and disconnecting from that habitat has some seriously negative outcomes on our wellness. She finds children who have exposure to nature are less stressed, have better attention, and are less likely to suffer from attention deficit disorder.
Connecting back with our natural habitat is where One Cool Earth comes in to help! Bringing children into the garden creates the opportunity for an educational environment containing a diversity of living ecosystems providing the social, psychological, and physical health benefits of connecting with the earth. This sets up children for a life full of the wellness received through connection with nature. National surveys found people who reported picking vegetables, taking care of plants, or living next to a garden in childhood to be more likely to continue gardening as they age forming lasting positive relationships with gardens and trees.
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