I think we’re all Born to be Wild.
Before you, “head out on the highway” though, let’s take the road less travelled.
We are each born with an innate desire to connect with our natural world. This may come as a shocking surprise to anyone who has ever wrestled a Nintendo Switch remote from a young child’s grasp, but deep down, our children and teens need nature as much as they need water and food.
Biophilia is the technical term for this. First coined by Harvard naturalist Dr. Edward O. Wilson, it refers to our, "innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes," and our desire to connect with nature.
When a child is encouraged to go outside in a natural setting on a regular basis, something inside them wakes up. The sun warms their face… the aroma of a Sweet Pepperbush in bloom reaches them…the breeze cools their skin. Their senses are engaged in a way that can’t be mimicked by even the best virtual reality experience.
And that’s what it is all about – the experience. It fulfills a primal need.
Summertime is finally here. For those of us living in cooler climates, we often feel euphoric when this time of year rolls around. There is no better time to “let your wild child out” and to encourage ourselves and our young people to step outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Swim, camp, hike, or just sit with a cool drink and watch the sun set.
I think that Steppenwolf would agree.
Wishing you time to Thrive Outside,
Shannon Rozea is the founding director of Thrive Outside