Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Allen Webb

Second Advisor

Ellen Foley


children, climate science, curriculum development, environmental education, nature, nature appreciation practices, nature deficit disorder, nature in the classroom, public school systems, teens


This essay considers the plausible solutions to a social condition called nature deficit disorder, a prevalent problem with the youngest members of society. Nature deficit disorder is linked to physical health issues like childhood obesity, asthma, and pre-diabetic symptoms. Research has also shown that nature deficit disorder leads to mental and emotional health concerns like ADD, ADHD, depression, and stress. Whether this increasingly common condition is due to the media’s portrayal of violence, urbanization, parent-guardians’ fears of an unsafe environment, or children’s and teen’s overuse of technology; the youth of the nation are spending less time outside. Nature deficit disorder does not discriminate; it affects individuals of varying ages, genders, races, regions, and socioeconomic statuses. There are numerous suggestions to addressing nature deficit disorder—some more adaptable than others—the overarching solution that this essay points to is the public education system. Incorporating nature appreciation and environmental education into each level of public schooling would create a healthier generation of children, foster a happier, hands-on community, and start a positive trend that can continue far into the future.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access