The book that’s inspiring a nature revival


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By Mark Humpert

All across the country, Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods has opened up discussions, spawned reading groups and brought together individuals and organizations with a common interest in conservation and the environment.

Brooke Levey, an extension educator with the University of Nebraska, was so moved by the book that she helped organize more than a dozen reading groups and purchased copies of Last Child in the Woods for Lincoln, Neb., city libraries. "When you read the book, you find yourself frequently nodding in agreement," Levey said. "Louv discusses how children and families are losing the connection to nature that is so important to those of us in the environmental and conservation fields. The things we took for granted as kids such as catching butterflies, wading in creeks and climbing trees are now as foreign to kids as Xboxes are to many middle-aged adults."

The success of the reading groups spawned the Healthy Families Play Outside (HFPO) network, which was formed to help reintroduce families to nature. HFPO partners started nature clubs in Lincoln-area schools, launched the Lincoln Safari and invited Richard Louv to speak at the Lied Center in Lincoln on Feb. 19.

"We didn’t want to just put the book on the nightstand and say 'those were the good ole days,'" said Levy. "Instead it inspired us to take action."

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