Cape Girardeau Nature Center hosts ‘Families in Nature’

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to turn the tide on Nature Deficit Disorder. The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center will host a “Families in Nature” event on June 8, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., where families can learn about Nature Deficit Disorder and also spend time in nature together.

“We’ve planned a sampling of outdoor activities that families will enjoy and that will also help to counteract the symptoms of Nature Deficit Disorder,” said Education Consultant Bridget Jackson.

According to Jackson, while it's socially and educationally important to provide children with opportunities to experience man-made technology, such as computers, research demonstrates that compromises must be made before children lose their connection to their natural world and the benefits that come with it. This concept is supported by Richard Louv’s book, “Last Child in the Woods”, which outlines the concept of Nature Deficit Disorder. The book has spurred teachers, parents, health professionals, and others to push for more opportunities for children to play in natural settings.

According to Louv’s book, studies find that children who have too little contact with nature have a greater risk of developing obesity, depression, anti-social behavior, lack of empathy, and lower language and imaginative skills.

“Missourian’s care about our fish, forests and wildlife and it’s important to pass along that tradition of spending time in the outdoors to our future generations,” Jackson said.

This event is for all ages. Families are asked to register by calling the Nature Center at (573)290-5218.

“We hope families will bring a picnic lunch to enjoy outside and plan on staying the entire day,” Jackson said.