Nature-Deficit: Part of the Solution

by Kenneth Ballentine, Documentary Film Maker, Nature Kids  

It was a beautiful day at Arbor Day Farm. I had just flown in from California to interview Julie Rose and Susie Wirth of Nature Explore for my new documentary film experience that celebrates the simple joys of an outdoor childhood. My purpose in making this film on nature-deficit disorder has never been to simply talk about the problem…rather, my purpose is to talk about solutions!

Julie and Susie spoke to me about Nature Explore’s contribution to the solution, namely “the outdoor classroom”. I was first introduced to the concept of outdoor classrooms by Eric Nelson in Southern California and his organization, The Outdoor Classroom Project. I was immediately enthralled by this simple and beautiful method for bringing a child’s education outdoors and fully engaging all of their senses. Julie explained, that Nature Explore outdoor classrooms provide a unique opportunity for children because they “provide something for all learners. By creating lots of different activity areas, children who have a deep interests in art or music or those young scientists can all find ways to be very successful in an outdoor classroom space.”  In this video Susie described, the authentic learning which can occur outdoors.

Nature Explore and their outdoor classrooms are an important contribution towards ending nature-deficit. I am very grateful to Julie and Susie for chatting with me that day. You can see their entire interviews (along with dozens of other kids-and-nature heroes) in Nature Kids sometime in 2013. Please take a moment to learn more about the film at