by Marsha Rakestraw

Research has repeatedly shown that we need regular exposure to the natural world.

We’re happier and healthier when we’re connected to the natural world. Studies also show improved cognitive function and stress management and lower obesity levels in children who get time outside.

And being out in the nature world deepens our connection to nonhuman animals and the earth. As IHE president Zoe Weil said in her book Above All, Be Kind:

“When we revere the magnificent earth and its creatures, the earth reveals itself ever more to our senses and to our hearts and souls. Our children’s spirits will soar when they watch the vermillion sun sink below a pink sky as it sets in the west. They will marvel at the speed and agility of a bat hunting for insects at dusk, and their own eyes will light up, as if in reflection, when they witness the light of a thousand fireflies at twilight.”

As spring blossoms over much of the earth, it’s a great time to reconnect with nature.

And whether it’s a tenacious flower bursting through a sidewalk crack in the city, or thousands of acres of national park, there are numerous opportunities surrounding us.

Check out our Pinterest page with resources to help parents and humane educators (re)connect children and adults with the natural world.