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Curing nature deficit disorder

How many modern kids have heard a loon from a tent?

Our daughter delighted us recently by announcing that she and her husband were shopping for camping gear, intent on ensuring their two tots experience nature and the outdoors as they develop.

We have a wee bit of a tribute inside this issue, a salute of sorts (starting on page 38), to a culture and a lifestyle we seem to be steadily losing. An intimate appreciation of our northern woods and waters and the inherent outdoorsy skills that accompany that are fading into obscure history. The accumulated knowledge and experience of quite a few generations are being buried in cemeteries all across the region. It’s a downright shame.

‘A woodsy lifestyle produces a hands-on understanding and appreciation of wildlife and habitat that doesn’t come from “booklearnin’”...’

The sheer joy of paddling a glassy lake at dawn, a serenade from a white-throated sparrow, the evening rise of back lake trout, a loon’s call after dark, or the fragrance of a bed of fresh cut fir—are almost unknown to helicopter-parent-sheltered, gizmo- and selfie-fixated youngsters today. They’re being seriously deprived. There’s even a name for it: “nature deficit disorder in children”.

Oh, we teach kids all about “the environment” in school these days, and we utter politically correct buzzwords about “carbon footprint” and “ecological responsibility” and “green living”…

But how much of that is mere urban posturing and how much passionate and experiential true understanding is still out there?

A woodsy lifestyle produces a hands-on appreciation of wildlife and habitat that doesn’t come from “booklearnin’” or the Internet. That knowledge and understanding foster a genuine caring attitude toward the natural environment.

And what you don’t care for, you lose.

We live in a magnificent place with unfettered access to abundant wildlife resources and are the envy of the world. Yet, as we increasingly urbanize, we seem to be losing both insight and interest.

There is a stalwart hero out there fighting the good fight. We review Mike Parker’s latest book of nostalgic delights. In a series of books, some best sellers, written during the past three decades, Mike is a shining beacon fighting an uphill battle in a dark subject area. He deserves support.

We’ve also added a couple of pieces on woods lore generally to illustrate what Mike Parker is urgently telling us.

Saltscapes East Coast EXPO 2017

And just a polite reminder that the Saltscapes EXPO is coming right up—April 21, 22 and 23 at the Halifax Exhibition Centre. To avoid lineups and receive a discount, tickets may be purchased in advance at Or contact us directly at 902-464-7258 or 877-311-5877. See you there (and remember to budget at least four hours. It’s a big show).

~ Linda & Jim Gourlay
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