Wild Hope: The Transformative Power of Children Engaging with Nature

Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


The international movement to connect children with nature continues to grow. While thoughtful and concerned people, including scholars, have written and worried about children’s disconnect from nature in their everyday lives for decades, the recent growth of the children and nature movement is heartening. With that growth come some positive results as well as challenges. One example of positive change is the increase in research related to nature deficit and the benefits of nature connection. While the number of studies with methodological improvements increases, important questions remain to be addressed. Even so, a review of the literature yields significant evidence-based insights and recommendations. Our chapter focuses especially on examples of evidence-based actions people are taking in all of the major settings where children live, learn, work, and play – that is, in their home environments, schools, and communities. We focus especially on those actions being taken to create positive, transformative experiences; support children’s healthy physical, mental, and social development; strengthen communities through nature connection; and benefit the health of the Earth itself. Such experiences and actions are the foundation for achieving what we are calling wild hope – a way of being and living that is rooted in nature-based experiences and contributes to a healthy present and future for today’s children and generations to come.


Nature-deficit disorder Nature-based experiences Hope 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Children and Nature NetworkMinneapolisUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sean Blenkinsop
    • 1
  • Peter Kahn
    • 2
  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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