Reconnecting Children with Nature

Our Responsibility and Our Opportunity

Learn about successful strategies from recreation and parks professionals that address the disconnect from nature through facility and land use planning, program development, and community education and partnerships.

Presented by:

  • Jack Voelker, Retired

Event Details

October 08, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost:

  • CEUs are FREE for this webinar.
  • Register for the live event


    Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
    Learning Credits
    are available for this webinar.

    Webinar Partners


    Webinar Outline

    This webinar is free to the public, thanks to a generous sponsorship from New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), and the Federal Highway Administration.

    This webinar is held in partnership with the New York State Recreation and Park Society Conference and select sessions that were cancelled due to COVID-19.

    Childhood has moved indoors, and the negative effects on a child’s physical, emotional, and cognitive health are alarming. Richard Louv, in his book Last Child in the Woods, describes this as “nature deficit disorder.” Conversely, experiences in the natural world positively impact the imagination and creativity, reduce stress, improve problem solving skills, lessen physical injuries and enhance all of the senses. Recreation and parks professionals are in a unique position to address this disconnect from nature through facility and land use planning, program development, and community education and partnerships. Learn about successful strategies and share examples from your own experience. A book list for suggested reading will be shared.

    Learning Objectives:

    • Participants will learn the definition of “nature deficit disorder” and the effects on a child’s health and well-being
    • Participants will learn about proven strategies and existing programs and facilities that are successful in addressing this disconnect
    • Participants will learn about potential community partnerships that can help meet this challenge


    This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).


    Jack Voelker, Retired

    Jack Voelker retired in 2015 after a 40 year career as a recreation professional in both municipal and private non-profit settings, and more than 50 years serving youth in a wide variety of environments. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Jack and his wife Diane grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY, lived in West Philadelphia and for the past 46 years have enjoyed life in rural southwestern NYS in their 1850 farmhouse on 65 acres. Together they initiated a monarch butterfly project with their local school district, leading 4th graders in habitat restoration. Their property is not only home to a large organic garden but is also a certified Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas. Jack has grown hops on the farm but that’s a story for another day. He is a published author, including a children’s book (Grandpa John’s Ivy) and his nature photographs have appeared in publications as well. A frequent presenter at regional events and at NYS Recreation and Parks Society annual conferences, Jack has served as Conference Chair and Program Chair. In 2015 he was given the Distinguished Service Award, the Society’s highest honor.

    Contact: [email protected]


    Closed Captioning

    We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

    Learning Credits and CEUs

    American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

    • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
    • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES PDH)
    • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
    • CEU equivalency petition for other organizations (please inquire with American Trails)

    Learning credits are included in the registration fee, free for our sponsored webinars, or a $15 fee for nonmembers for our free webinars without a sponsor.

    Our typical 90-minute webinars earn the following credits: AICP (1.5 CM), LA CES (1.5 PDH), and NRPA CEU equivalency petition (0.10). The amount of credits offered for our webinars is determined by the length of the webinar.


    While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff.

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