The Hybrid Mind : connecting with nature to benefit children’s learning and development [with Richard Louv]

Author and journalist, Richard Louv, recently gave a workshop on “the Hybrid Mind” which refers to person with a mix of both outdoor and technical skills. In his session, he stresses the importance of connecting to nature and learning in the outdoors in our increasingly high-tech world : “The more high tech we become the more nature we need. Nature is a balancing agent.” says Richard. He also suggests that, for every dollar spent on technology, another dollar should be spent on direct contact with the outdoors, and another dollar should be spent on play.

Many of our CPSN/RCÉL schools have been making efforts to connect their students to nature in different ways and have reported many benefits in their students. Louv highlights the lack of scientific literature around learning in nature and its benefits. Luckily, the research team at the CPSN/RCÉL is currently working on writing a thorough review of the literature on “Green Play” in the middle-years which seeks to map the extent, nature, and range of out-of-doors playful learning, as well as summarize and share how it has been conducted and studied around the world. You can find CPSN/RCÉL on-going research here.

For those interested in getting your students and their families on board with outdoor learning. Louv suggests running a Family Nature Club – where families can safely explore the outdoors together. You can find a comprehensive toolkit for setting up a Family Nature Club here: 

Richard Louv

Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder; The Nature Principle; and Vitamin N. His most recent book is Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with Animals Can Transform Our Lives — and Save Theirs. Translated into 22 languages, his books have helped launch an international movement to connect children, their families and communities to nature. He is co-founder and chair emeritus of the nonprofit Children & Nature Network. In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal, presented by the National Audubon Society. Prior recipients have included Rachel Carson, E. O. Wilson, and President Jimmy Carter. Among other awards, Louv is the recipient of the Cox Award, Clemson University’s highest honor, for “sustained achievement in public service.”

Summary of the workshop written by Gladys Ayson