I got involved with the Children and Nature Movement in 2005 after reading Richard Louv’s best selling book Last Child in the Woods-Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. I, and other concerned citizens from around the world, were so inspired by Louv’s book, that many of us, unbeknownst to each other, spontaneously started children and nature campaigns to reconnect children with nature. These campaigns took on a variety of names…”No Child Left Inside,” “Leave No Child Inside,” “Nature Child Reunion,” etc. There was no directive from anyone at “the top”—it was, and is, inspired grassroots activism at its best.
The Children and Nature Movement has engaged many parts of my heart. As a political science major in college, being part of this grassroots movement, and watching it unfold is very exciting!! I have also always loved nature and animals. I spent my childhood in the out-of-doors, playing football, sitting in my tree house daydreaming, sleeping outside in tents, and going to summer camp. One of my very first memories is when I was pleading through my tears one summer day for my older brothers to stop stepping on the ants that were innocently walking across our porch. I still enjoy watching ants and other creatures for hours on end. So, being a part of a movement that is helping preserve our natural world is very fulfilling.
But perhaps the most exciting part of all this for me has been my children and nature musical collaboration with the kindergartners from the school where I work. After college I spent many years as a singer and songwriter. It wasn’t until my late thirties that I decided to quit my songwriting “career” after finally realizing that I lacked both drive and thick skin—two crucial attributes any musician must possess if they are going to succeed in breaking into the music business. After I made this decision, I didn’t write music for many years. “Nature Needs Kids and Kids Need Nature” is the first song I wrote after my time away from songwriting. And it is the first time I collaborated with children in the recording studio.
Working with the little ones has been, by far, one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. After recording with the children, one of the mothers wanted me to know that her little one wouldn’t let her kill a spider because “that’s nature and NATURE NEEDS KIDS!” When she told me this, I thought to myself, “who needs a Grammy?!!” Since writing and recording “Nature Needs Kids”, every kindergarten class since then has performed the song. I’ve written and recorded “Leave No Child Inside” with another kindergarten class, recorded a new CD, founded, and am co-chair of The Leave No Child Inside Central Ohio Collaborative, and have started this website. I guess life has a way of unfolding just the way it’s meant to.
I often hear the children on the playground where I work exclaiming to each other, “Please don’t pick that flower–nature needs kids and kids need nature!!” It seems as if this phrase, this idea that nature needs them–reaches them somehow. It seems to make them feel special, even maybe empowered. I hope so anyway. I guess being told that you’re needed makes anyone feel special. They sure have taken it to heart, and I’m so glad. It also had reminded me how powerful music is. Richard Louv often talks about how important it is to not only make the programmatic changes to get our children back outside, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to create lasting cultural change on this issue as well. I think music can help propel these deeper cultural changes.
I hope you enjoy visiting NatureNeedsKids.com. Please be sure to check out the various links—the lyrics, the Children and Nature Movement, and of course, all the music that’s available here. Here’s to nature, animals, children, music, AND here’s to the Children and Nature Movement! Oh yeah, and please watch out for all those little ants and other insects walking across your porches, and all the other creatures great and small! After all, we are all connected—nature does need us, and we need it too.