Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods was the keynote speaker at the SAF Convention today. Before his prepared remarks he mentioned the fires in California. His home is in San Diego in the danger zone. So far his home is safe and hopefully will stay that way.
For a number of reasons children are losing this contact with the outdoors. Electronic toys, parents' fears, and a too-structured lifestyle are just some of the reasons. He says that the increase in childhood obesity, increased ADD, and the increase of stressed children are just some of the consequences. In part he blamed his own profession, journalism, for creating a climate of fear by magnifying all the dangers out there, that results in many families keeping their children under house arrest.
He cited a number of initiatives and programs to get children back outdoors. Although he says it's unlikely we will ever go back to the days of letting children roam free, we have to make sure children have that connection to the outdoors that all people need.
He really connected to this audience of foresters. Just about all of us had our special outdoor place growing up. Most of us still have one today. He did inspire all of us to try harder to find ways to work with children. That will be good for them and good for the profession of forestry.
Here is a link to Louv's web page and a link to his books in Google search.
Louv did a book signing later in the day. There was a huge line, over a hundred people I guess, waiting. The SAF shop even sold out of the book.