Kids Need Nature
Improving Mental, Emotional, & Physical Health

bioblitzFor over 10 years the North Branch Nature Center (NBNC) has offered learning experiences addressing the growing concerns surrounding environmental literacy, future environmental conservation, and a sense of place among our youth. With the abundant opportunities for increasing understanding, awareness, and caring for the natural world also come benefits to child development. The diverse ecosystems that surround NBNC enrich the nature discoveries and adventures that we offer. The natural history programs and access to nature, as provided by NBNC, strengthen the mental, emotional, and physical health and development of our youth. The following studies demonstrate the effects of nature-based learning on children.


Encouraging Healthy Mental and
Emotional Development

Biophilia describes human’s innate attraction to the natural world. Despite this biological interest, many of America’s youth suffer from nature deficit disorder—youth today spend significantly less time in nature than past generations. This has repercussions for child health and development. Environmental education reconnects children with the environment while simultaneously creating holistic opportunities for emotional and mental maturation. For children, time spent in nature:

  • stimulates a sense of wonder, exploration, and discovery
  • provides opportunities to think critically and problem solve
  • develops the ability to cope and adapt to
    varying conditions and settings

Reducing Symptoms of ADD and ADHD

The U.S Center for Disease Control reports that 7 percent of children from ages 6 to 11 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder, amounting to 1.7 million youth. Spending time in nature reduces the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Children diagnosed with attention disorders concentrate better after spending at least 20 minutes outside daily. Additionally, symptoms of ADHD are ‘milder’ after children spend time in green settings. NBNC offers just these opportunities: hands-on, out-of-classroom learning and access to miles of trails through forests, beaver habitat, and along the North Branch of the Winooski River.






“Nature-deficit disorder is not an official diagnosis but a way of viewing the problem, and describes the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.” — Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 229-6206

Open Monday - Friday, 9am to 4pm
Trails open every day
Directions to the Nature Center
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