A number of trends, including the recent unexpected national media attention to Last Child and "nature deficit disorder," have now brought the concerns of these veteran advocates before a broader audience. While some may argue that the word "movement" is hyperbole, we do seem to have reached a tipping point. State and regional campaigns, sometimes called Leave No Child Inside, have begun to form in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, St. Louis, Connecticut, Florida, Colorado, Texas, and elsewhere.

"Some dumb kid named Brett who has been missing for hours."

´╗┐An Outdoor Experience That Changed My Life

I asked one of the parents who they were looking for.

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You can't tell how dense and steep those woods are from Google Map's midwinter shot, but during the summer they seemed as deep and mysterious as any fantasy novel's enchanted forest. I use the past tense, because the woods burned down shortly after I moved back to Illinois, and the forest you see in today's satellite photo is much younger than the old growth forest I explored.

Apparently, I was luckier than Louv, who failed to stop his childhood forest from being destroyed by a developers' bulldozer. But things are changing, writes Louv, who also tells the story of working in earnest with a homebuilder to build a nature conscious development.

My 5 year old has been taking skiing lessons. Skiing is one of the last best places for the kind of freedom you describe.

Which brings me to this fantastic article in Orion Magazine called Leave No Child Inside by Richard Louv, who posits the idea that adults who grow up loving nature and the environment also had seminal events like mine. I highly, highly recommend parents read this article.

It is imperative we resolve this outdoors crisis in my own family within the next year or two, but it is such a difficult thing to accomplish without substantial funding. (Housing next to open areas is cost prohibitive.) Somehow, though I intend to give my kids the great outdoors, one way or another.

Unfortunately, you and I and lots of other parents grew up in a different time. I grew up on the shores of Lake Erie in a small town in Ohio. When I was 10 or so, the summer routine was this: get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, grab your bike and friends, and go explore. We usually ended up back home around lunchtime. Then back outside. Came home when my dad whistled for dinner (the man could WHISTLE!), then out after dinner until the street lights came on. This was all UNSUPERVISED BY AN ADULT/ PARENT. There was no fear about strangers snatching you off you bike (OH! and we didn wear helmets then), or terrible fear about being hit by a car ("stay off the busy road."). We explored open fields and woods and brought home dozen of caterpillars to "raise" into butterflies.

That experience had two lifelong consequences: 1. I would never spank my kids though I do threaten Seth from time to time when I'm really flustered over his attempts to ram his sister's head through the floor and 2. A love for the outdoors and nature.

Louv believes a society that traps obese, unhealthy children indoors with electronic babysitters and toys is getting ready to kick them back outside:

I hope he's right, because so far my children have spent far more time indoors than I did as a child. Women Canada Goose Trillium Parka White Nz The large woods aside, if you look at my childhood apartment complex again, you can see that I had plenty of room to play outside. The beauty of that place architecturally it was a dog was that mom could let us run around outside for most of the day.

This past weekend, my family and I went to a freinds farm to see how he and his family tap maple trees for their sap. They live on 25 acres of farmland that butts right up to I 70. I did not worry once about my son getting lost, stolen, etc. I was a GREAT feeling of freedom. The feeling I want my boys to have. But how?

Thinking somewhat illogically, I ran home and tried to pretend I was there all along. It didn't work, and I received one of the worst spankings of my life. I was baffled that no one wanted to reward me for the courage it took to explore those woods.

Coming back out of the woods, I crossed the street to see parents wandering around our apartment complex, which are those buildings just below the green arrow. (The large houses north of West End Avenue were built years after I moved away.)

I haven't been able to recreate that environment for my children yet. In California, the best I could provide was a cul de sac in which cars would come careening out of nowhere and terrorize parents and kids alike. In Chicago, we have a beautiful park (bottom picture) but a 4 year old cannot go out and cross Lake Shore Drive without parental supervision. Self play won't be an option for years to come.

The boys lead me through thick brush, wondrously large, green plants and a dense canopy blocking out most of the sunlight. Eventually we arrived at a secret tree house, though fear prevented me from going up the rickety rope and pulley elevator.

Hi Brett, I followed a link here from landismom My husband and I moved to a small town (well, it was small at the time; it been growing like crazy) about 5 years ago, and that was one of our reasons to give our kids some space to be free.