Over the River and Through the Woods: Nature and Cognitive Development


Danielle Caban

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This study was conducted at the Audubon Center at Debs Park in Highland Park for two weeks during the annual summer camp. The participants consisted of 20 children ranging from the ages of six to ten. During the weeks at summer camp, the children spent nearly all of their time out on the mountain where the center is located. The hypothesis of this study is that consistently spending time in nature will benefit the visual-spatial cognitive development of children. This idea is based on the work of Richard Louv, in his Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder . Using three different evaluation tools, the investigator attempted to track the development of and changes in the participants? visual-spatial ordering . Nature Deficit Disorder is a recent theory that claims the widening gap between people and nature can hinder the emotional and physical development and children. This study is relevant because it is expected that children begin to notice, understand, and explain relationships found in nature and between themselves and others with increasing time within that environment ? even after 1 or 2 weeks.


Diana Linden




Ford Research Mentors Endowment

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