Nature Bullies

Father and son explore their local natural spaceimage:
Father and son explore their local natural space

The following commentary, whether you agree with it or not, brings up a great challenge for Landscape Architects. How can we design spaces that promote interaction with the natural world without harming it? We know how to design trails, signage, rest areas, but how do we design to allow for the creative, open ended exploration by children in nature.  We need to find the balance between conservation and discovery.  The Children and Nature Movement is much more than teaching children how to identity birds and trees, it is about creating a profound connection to the natural world.

NATURE BULLIES: A conservation biologist’s perspective on children in nature


Ron Swaisgood, author of the aforementioned commentary, is a conservation biologist and ecologist. He and his wife Janice Swaisgood (along with their two boys) co-founded the Family Adventures in Nature (FAN) Club in San Diego and it has since spread internationally.  For more information visit their website.

One thought on “Nature Bullies

  1. Lisa Cowan, PLA, ASLA December 20, 2012 / 9:39 pm

    Ron’s point about encouraging children and families to engage in nature reminds me of a talk by Peter Forbes. Executive Director of the Center for Whole Communities, Peter challenged attendees at a land conservation conference to think differently about their missions and how conservation fits within the communities they serve, as one way to remain sustainable. People will more likely support parks and land conservation if they have developed a positive relationship with natural areas.

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