Scott D. Sampson is a dinosaur paleontologist, science communicator, and passionate advocate for connecting people with nature. Despite the acclaim given Richard Louv's watershed books Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle, the child-in-nature movement is still operating at the edges of society and has not achieved mainstream approval. There is lots of work to be done if we are to free children from their self-imposed enslavement to digital screens.
One avenue Sampson explores at length has parents, educators, religious folk, and others becoming nature mentors for the children in their lives. A second avenue is finding more creative ways to connect boys and girls with the environment and place through the digital technologies which now play such a predominant role in their days and doings.
Sampson points to a tradition established in the 1980s in Japan called Shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing," in which people take trips to the forests for relaxation and rejuvenation. Today in this healing place, people walk in silence, opening all their senses, and not using their cell phones and other devices. This kind of love affair with nature can be supplemented with experiential learning in wild places, participating in scavenger hunts and other kinds of nature play, developing green schools, and participating in the greening of cities.
Sampson's writing is crisp and clear and his many practical suggestions for reconnecting youth with Mother Nature are creative and adventuresome!