ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Striving for a healthier relationship among individuals, families, communities, nations, and the environment is imperative at a time in history when humankind can change the face of the earth in monumental ways. This dynamic health relationship, with an emphasis on the contributions of parks, recreation, and tourism to health promotion, is the subject of this article. A broader conception of health that moves beyond human physical and mental health to include familial, communal, national, international, and global ecological health is called for, and a more comprehensive ecological model of health promotion, including consideration of health from a holistic ecological perspective, is presented. New directions for leisure research based on an ecological orientation to health promotion conclude the article.
Content may be subject to copyright.
People and Nature: Toward an Ecological Model
of Health Promotion
Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Striving for a healthier relationship among individuals, families, communities, nations,
and the environment is imperative at a time in history when humankind can change
the face of the earth in monumental ways. This dynamic health relationship, with an
emphasis on the contributions of parks, recreation, and tourism to health promotion,
is the subject of this article. A broader conception of health that moves beyond human
physical and mental health to include familial, communal, national, international, and
global ecological health is called for, and a more comprehensive ecological model of
health promotion, including consideration of health from a holistic ecological perspec-
tive, is presented. New directions for leisure research based on an ecological orientation
to health promotion conclude the article.
Keywords biodiversity, ecological model of health promotion, restorative environ-
ments, sustainability, urbanization
In Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, jour-
nalist Richard Louv (2005) pieces together a jigsaw puzzle’s worth of scientific evidence to
support his claim that humankind is losing touch with its biological moorings in ways that
are detrimental to human health, especially the health of children. The United States is 85%
urbanized, and people have largely abandoned the country to make their living and homes
in the city. Urban living is a manifestation of advancing technology, which makes it possible
to work in more sedentary ways, stay inside more, and exercise less. The impact on health
is disastrous. Obesity and obesity-related diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes,
congestive heart failure, strokes, and other maladies accompanying an urban sedentary
lifestyle are all on the rise (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008).
Louv (2005) is especially concerned about the negative effects of urbanization on
children. For a variety of reasons, children are also more sedentary, stay inside more, and
exercise less (Clements, 2004; Kellert, 2005). From 2006 to 2007, participation in outdoor
activities dropped 11.6% among U.S. children ages 6–17, and the trend continues (Outdoor
Industry Foundation, 2008). Children spend inordinate amounts of time watching television,
playing video games, sitting at their computers, and attending movies (Pergams & Zaradic,
2006). Pergams and Zaradic have even coined a new term, videophilia, to describe this
growing human inclination to be preoccupied with sedentary activities involving electronic
The increasing divide between people and nature jeopardizes human physical and
mental health in significant ways (Turner, Nakamura, & Dinetti, 2004). Research has
shown, for example, that exposure to nature through early life experiences is integral
to children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development (Faber Taylor & Kuo, 2006;
Faber Taylor, Kuo, & Sullivan, 2002; Kellert, 2005). Playing outside is good for children. As
adults, these same childhood experiences serve as a foundation for environmental advocacy
(Chawla, 1988, 1998). To the extent that today’s children play outdoors less, their personal
growth and development are hampered, as is the likelihood that they will be environmental
advocates upon reaching adulthood. Left unchecked, future citizens may end up detached
from their fundamental ground of being and lose sight of their dependence on nature for its
life-giving sustenance. Such ecological ignorance would then pose an even greater threat
to human and environmental health.
Louv’s (2005) prescription for what ails children is a heavy dose of nature. His rem-
edy is based on the health benefits of active living and the health-restoring properties
of natural environments. His thinking is rooted in the work of environmental psychol-
ogists who reason that humankind has spent most of its evolutionary history in close
contact with the natural world (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989) in ways that have nurtured a
deep affinity for it (Wilson, 1993). From this perspective, migration to the city has hap-
pened in the blink of an evolutionary eye, and people are now out of sorts with their own
The Urban Condition
Thinking of contemporary human beings as products of a long history that began in the
African savanna is a theme that has been developed in the environmental psychology
literature (Altman & Wohlwill, 1983; Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989; Kellert, 2005; Proshansky,
Ittelson, & Rivlin, 1970). Having spent most of the past in close proximity to nature,
environmental psychologists suggest humans may be “wired” for a world they no longer
inhabit. Closeness to, and fondness for, nature has been cut off by the relatively recent
arrival in the city. Detached from their biological moorings, people are now fundamentally
out of step with their own nature, resulting in numerous health problems associated with
the urban condition.
This separation between people and nature is reflected in many aspects of city life.
People reside in built environments that do not lend themselves to physical activity or
outdoor recreation. In most cases, transportation corridors are designed for motorized
vehicles rather than bicycle or foot traffic. People work downtown and live in the suburbs.
Longing for suburbia has led to urban sprawl, resulting in great distances between work and
home. People spend large amounts of time and consume huge amounts of nonrenewable
fossil fuels commuting to and from work over pavement that is simply too far, or too
dangerous, to walk or to ride on a bicycle.
Urban lifestyles separate people from nature as well. Home from work or school,
individuals 15 years and older spend approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes each day
watching television, with the remainder of leisure time devoted to bits and pieces of activity
that can be measured in minutes (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006). Meanwhile,
younger children spend as much as six hours a day in front of one screen or another (Kaiser
Foundation, 2005). Robinson and Godbey (1997) report that U.S. citizens spend 95% of
the time indoors, leaving little time for outdoor activity.
The cumulative effect of city life on urbanites is a form of inertia, a sedentariness that
permeates daily living and results in stresses and strains on people’s minds and bodies.
Obesity among all segments of the population is on the rise in the United States (National
Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, 2003) as is stress (American Institute of Stress, 2008).
Exacerbating the situation is an uneven distribution of wealth and uneven access to leisure
opportunities within the cityscape that make some neighborhoods and some residents even
more at risk of urban-related sicknesses (Giles-Corti & Donovan, 2003; Gobster, 2001;
Sasidharan, Willits, & Godbey, 2005). According to Godbey (2009), the ultimate remedy
for the collective affliction requires a comprehensive redesign of cities based on mixed
use zoning and “smart growth” principles that facilitate going outside, being active, and
connecting with nature. The monumentality of the challenge is staggering, but to give up
on it would be to surrender the health of 85% of the citizenry. Consequently, it behooves
park, recreation, and tourism professionals now more than ever to articulate what they can
contribute to health promotion in the context of contemporary urban life.
Health Benefits of Outdoor Recreation
A growing body of knowledge demonstrates the significant health benefits derived from
outdoor recreation. Studies linking increased physical activity and increased physical fitness
with access to local parks and greenways are evident throughout the literature (Kaczynski
& Henderson, 2007; Kaczynski, Potwarka, & Saelens, 2008; Kahn et al., 2002; Sallis,
Prochaska, & Taylor, 2000), as are studies linking well-placed and well-maintained local
parks and greenways with healthy communities (Frumkin, 2003). Clearly, health promotion
power in outdoor recreation is evidenced by the numerous physiological and psychological
benefits associated with experiencing outdoor environments (Kaplan, 1995; Ulrich, 1981).
What the research suggests to date are strong positive correlations between outdoor
recreation participation and beneficial health outcomes. People who participate in outdoor
recreation are in disproportionately good health, and people in good health participate
disproportionately more in outdoor recreation (Payne et al., 2005). The biggest health
benefits accrue to people who make a habit of outdoor recreation participation, and the best
opportunities to experience beneficial health outcomes from outdoor recreation participation
are close to home in the form of municipal parks and recreation settings (Godbey, 2009).
While the circumstantial evidence documenting the health promotion power of out-
door recreation engagements is persuasive, drawing specific causal inferences about health
outcomes from those engagements is problematic. This problem is due, in part, to method-
ological shortcomings that take participant self-reports at face value (Chase & Godbey,
1983), rely on participants’ faulty memories of past outdoor recreational involvement
(Chase & Harada, 1994), and treat outdoor recreation pursuits as if they were one activity
when they are frequently made up of multiple activities. More important, the field’s heavy
reliance on survey research does not lend itself to causal inference. There is a glaring need
for experimental research that probes causation, which has the potential to lead to strong
causal inference.
Despite these methodological issues, Godbey (2009) concluded that ample evidence
supports the assertion that recreating in the outdoors contributes to human health in broad
and interrelated ways. Sallis, Prochaska, and Taylor (2000) reinforced this assertion by
claiming that the association between physical activity and being outdoors is so strong
that being outdoors is the best predictor of preschool children’s physical activity. Yet there
are numerous obstacles preventing the population in general and children in particular
from enjoying nature. Unequal access to and information about local park and recreation
opportunities are major barriers (Bixler & Floyd, 1997; Floyd et al., 2008) as is parental
concern for children’s safety, a decline in unstructured free play time, poorly designed
outdoor spaces, and the litigious nature of society (Louv, 2005). These obstacles must be
overcome if adults and children alike are to be reacquainted with their natural heritage.
The importance of removing constraints to outdoor recreation participation cannot be
overemphasized. The health benefits of regular unstructured time outdoors for children
are multifaceted, and outdoor play settings facilitate children’s most powerful form of
learning, that is, learning by doing. The outdoors may provide the best context for children
to understand the workings of the larger world (Godbey, 2009).
Moreover, exercising the human body is critical to enhancing human health, and
outdoor recreation provides what may be the best opportunity for people to move in an
enjoyable and sustainable manner. Opportunities for exercise in work or household-related
activities are intermittent as are opportunities specifically to improve health (e.g., fitness
centers) (Godbey, 2009). The best hope for sustaining exercise may be when it is an
inherent part of a pleasurable experience. Enhanced health then becomes a byproduct of
doing something one finds joy in, something intrinsically motivating, and something that
has staying power (Chow, 2007; Godbey, 2009). These characteristics may account for the
unique contribution of recreation engagements to health promotion.
Nature’s Restorative Potential
Researchers have also addressed whether health benefits differ between natural and built
environments (Hartig & Evans, 1993; Kweon et al., 2006; Ulrich, 1983). Their findings
suggest that people not only prefer natural environments to built environments, but they
also perceive that natural environments offer them greater potential for positive experiences
(Wohlwill, 1983). The tendency to think of and respond to natural environments more
positively may be because they allow people to recover from the stresses and strains
of daily living (Hartig & Evans, 1993; Hartig, Mang, & Evans, 1991). Stress reduction,
considered to be a major benefit of parks and open space since Olmsted and Vaux designed
New York City’s Central Park in the middle of the 19th century (Rybcznyski, 1999; Sax,
1980), may be the single most important therapeutic outcome that increasing contact with
the natural world offers contemporary urban dwellers (Godbey, 2009).
The health benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle also extend from people to nature.
When people get out of their houses and cars and set out on a bicycle or on foot, they reduce
the demand for limited nonrenewable fossil fuels, thereby reducing air pollution and global
warming. To the extent these activities are sustained over time, all will be able to enjoy
cleaner air to breathe and cleaner water to drink. The health of the environment itself will
likely improve as the collective load is lightened and the carbon footprint is reduced. A
healthier environment will then be in better shape to give back health benefits of its own.
Parks and greenways, for example, can mitigate air pollution (American Forests, 2002)
and reduce increased temperatures (Center for Urban Horticulture, 2008). To realize these
benefits, however, green spaces and accessible pathways must be designed into the cityscape
in ways that improve both human health and the health of the underlying ecological system
(Rails to Trails Conservancy, 2009; Takano, Nakamura, & Watanabe, 2002).
The health-restoring properties of natural environments are even more far reaching.
S. Kaplan’s (1995) work on Attention Restoration Theory suggests that interactions with
nature can reverse directed attention fatigue, an affliction common to the pressurized modern
world. The effort involved in focusing attention on work-related tasks is exhausting, and S.
Kaplan theorized that encounters with nature replenish fatigued directed attention capacity.
Something appears to be inherently therapeutic about communing with nature (Bodin &
Hartig, 2003). Even children with Attention Deficit Disorder benefit from nature’s healing
properties (Faber Taylor, Kuo, & Sullivan, 2001; Kuo & Faber Taylor, 2004). Finally, small
doses of nature in the midst of an urban setting yield micro-restorative experiences (Kaplan,
2001). In a landmark study of a hospital setting, Ulrich (1984) found that patients recovering
from surgery who had a window overlooking a natural scene recovered more quickly than
patients whose view overlooked a built environment. These and similar findings have
spawned new efforts to design buildings, towns, and cities that weave more greenery into
the fabric of urban landscapes (Beatley, 2000; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2000).
Ecological Model of Health Promotion
In sum, like a pianist’s glissando, the preventive power of active outdoor living sounds
healthy notes emanating from the individual to the larger environment, while the thera-
peutic power of a healthier environment reverberates back to the individual by sounding
healthy notes of its own. The resulting harmony reflects the striking of symbiotic keys. The
individual, through a healthier lifestyle, reduces his or her carbon footprint on the larger
world, while the larger world reciprocates with cleaner air, cleaner water, and an abundance
of health restoring properties.
This symbiosis demonstrates that health is a dynamic relationship that can best be
understood by conceiving it in broad ecological terms. Health, from an ecological perspec-
tive, is a measure of the wellness of the individual and the community considered together.
The individual cannot be healthy independent of the condition of the larger community,
and the larger community cannot be healthy independent of the condition of the individ-
uals constituting it. Healthy individuals require healthy families, healthy families require
healthy communities, healthy communities require healthy nations, healthy nations require
a healthy planet, and so on. Health, at its core, is symbiotic in nature (Schwab, Dustin, &
Bricker, 2009).
This ecological approach to health promotion frames the interconnectedness and in-
terdependence of the natural and physical attributes of the world into a more coherent and
systematic way of thinking. It illustrates the harmonious potential that should define hu-
mankind’s relationship with the larger world. As Figure 1 shows, there is a strong symbiotic
relationship between ecosystem health and the health of the functional units that make up
ecosystems, including humans. The model also recognizes the role humans play in affect-
ing ecosystems as well as ecosystem effects on humans. The emphasis is on sustaining the
health of the planet as a whole as well as its interdependent parts.
When evaluating the relationship between a healthy planet and sustaining healthy peo-
ple, communities, and nations, the intricacy of this vast web of interrelationships becomes
clear. Think of global climate change and its associated health-related reverberations all the
way down to the level of individual life forms. At the same time, the model reflects how an
environmentally friendlier code of human conduct has the potential to reverberate outward
resulting in large scale environmental improvements. Individual human beings can deliver
health benefits to the planet, while a healthier planet can reciprocate by:
Filtering toxic substances from the air, water, and soil;
Protecting against flooding, storm surges, and erosion;
Breaking down wastes and recycling substances;
Pollinating crops and wild plant species;
Creating and maintaining soil fertility;
Sequestering carbon that mitigates global climate change;
International Health Individual Health
Biodiversity Conservation
Ecological Health
National Health Family Health
Community Health
FIGURE 1 Ecological model of health promotion.
Helping maintain the water cycle and stabilize local climates;
Feeding, clothing, and sheltering us; and
Giving us a host of other goods and services that support life, including human life on
earth (Chivian, 2004, pp. 26–27).
These ecosystem “services” fill not only fundamental biological needs but also cultural
needs for recreational, aesthetic, and spiritual well-being (Millennium Ecosystem Assess-
ment, 2003).
Further, people depend on the planet for medicines that originate from diverse types
of ecosystems. These ecosystems also help understand disease, support the food web upon
which people depend, and reduce the risks of contracting infectious diseases (Chivian,
2004; Chivian & Bernstein, 2004). Knowing all this, the planet is rarely placed front
and center in thinking about how to conceptualize health in society. Humankind’s de-
pendence on a healthy planet is obscured by affluence in the Western industrialized
world, while the world’s poorest countries have no such economic buffer to shield them
from their direct dependence on the health of the planet for their welfare (Chivian,
Conservation of biodiversity is the centerpiece for sustaining health in all of its mani-
festations (Chivian & Bernstein, 2008). Threats to biodiversity and the consequences of its
losses, including the obvious ecological consequences as well as the impact on aesthetic,
ethical, sociological, and economical aspects of the world, reveal the reality of our depen-
dence on a healthy planet. The significance of these relationships extends from the local
to the global level, affecting the health not only of individual human beings but also of
the earth as a whole. Put simply, humans depend on the health of other species and on the
“healthy functioning of natural ecosystems” for their own personal health (Annan, 2008,
p. ix).
What an ecological model of health promotion demonstrates is that individual, famil-
ial, communal, national, international, and global health is highly intertwined and interde-
pendent. Negative perturbations in any of the functional units may have untold negative
rippling effects on the earth as a whole, thereby diminishing its ability to deliver ecosys-
tem services of its own. The model also reflects the central role that humans play for
better or worse in health promotion. The overarching lesson is that for the earth to deliver
its products and nonmaterial benefits to humankind, its health must be looked after as
Toward a More Comprehensive Health Promotion Strategy
An ecological model of health promotion implies that the benefits of parks, recreation,
and tourism inevitably will be measured by the degree to which they help sustain the
health of all life. In this regard, encouraging and facilitating active outdoor living is an
affordable proactive strategy for averting many of the chronic diseases plaguing a sedentary
urban population. Preventing health problems is simply cheaper than paying for medical
treatment after the fact. For this reason alone, parks, recreation, and tourism services should
be embraced as part of a comprehensive health promotion strategy. If physical, mental, and
emotional well-being can be improved by walking, hiking, biking, climbing, running rivers,
skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and a host of other outdoor pursuits (Pretty et al., 2005;
Van den Berg, Hartig, & Staats, 2007), then these activities should be considered integral to
a common sense cure for what ails people, a cure made all the more palatable by mounting
scientific evidence demonstrating their efficacy and cost effectiveness.
At the same time, getting back to nature can help restore the earth’s health. This
possibility requires careful consideration of the ways in which people act when recreating
in the outdoors. Choosing recreational pastimes that reduce our carbon footprint and help
restore nature’s ability to deliver ecosystem services is essential to the reciprocity upon
which health depends in its broadest sense. Focusing on human health alone runs the
risk of ignoring the harm that can be done to the health of the planet by some forms of
outdoor recreation. In the long run, this harm could diminish human health as well through
a gradual erosion of the quality of outdoor recreation opportunities and environments
(Dustin & McAvoy, 1982). People cannot be healthy if the planet on which they live is
unhealthy. The planet on which people live cannot be healthy if people persist in unhealthy
human behaviors. Health is a harmonious ecological relationship that must be nurtured
New Research Directions
Appreciating health as a symbiotic relationship rooted in ecological understanding suggests
a new orientation to studying the health promotion power of outdoor recreation engage-
ments. On a macro level, interdisciplinary efforts are required to better understand the
dynamics of the ecosystemic properties of health. As Godbey (2009) recommended, this
approach would include research investigating synergistic potentials in community design
and zoning, transportation, school policy, park and recreation policy, market-sector outdoor
recreation opportunities, climate change, demographic change, and other contributors to,
or inhibitors of, health promotion. Such an ecological orientation would be based on the
realization that the major determinants of health have less to do with the health care system
per se (Hancock, 1999) than with the environmental and social aspects of health (Chu &
Simpson, 1994). This is why park and recreation settings, especially those located close to
home, may be ideally situated to foster health (Maller et al., 2006).
Lack of contact with nature is a growing problem with effects only now beginning
to be understood. Evidence suggests that the disconnect results in serious negative health
consequences. Additional research is needed to better understand nature’s health-restoring
properties, the barriers to benefiting from those properties (especially for children), and
how to break down those barriers. A particularly important subcontext to this line of inquiry
is the decreasing amount of children’s free play time in the outdoors. The costs and benefits
of highly structured play for children need to be better understood as well as the ways
in which children benefit from unstructured outdoor play. Laboratories abound for this
research, including neighborhood vacant lots, school yards, local parks, and organized
As outdoor recreation trends research has shown, participation patterns are highly
skewed and outdoor recreation planners and policymakers must provide opportunities that
are more appealing to ethnic minorities and women (Floyd, Crespo, & Sallis, 2008; Shinew
et al., 2006). Park and recreation professionals must better understand the interests of
ethnic minorities and women as well as the constraints to their participation, and then
set about accommodating those interests and removing those constraints. The impetus
for this research is rooted in social justice in the provision of public park and recreation
opportunities (Floyd & Johnson, 2002) and in a concern for planning for a preferred future
that serves the needs of all citizens.
A rapidly aging population should also be the focus of increased research attention.
Current estimates indicate that one in five U.S. citizens is 65 years or older and this
percentage will more than double by the middle of the century (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006).
People are also living longer, and the number of citizens 85 years or older will triple by 2050.
Planning environmentally friendly and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities for a
much larger older population with declining physical abilities will require forethought and
creativity on the part of outdoor recreation planners and policymakers, landscape architects,
and other allied health professionals. Interdisciplinary research that informs this planning
process should be a top priority.
Partnerships between parks and recreation and allied health agencies must be evaluated
as well for their effectiveness in reducing social health care costs. There has been little
evaluative research on these partnerships (Spangler & Caldwell, 2007), even though parks
and recreation is now widely recognized as a health promotion profession. Efforts by
Driver (2009) and others to program specifically for health-related benefits is encouraging.
Researchers are in the nascent stage of demonstrating the park and recreation profession’s
contributions to human and environmental health (Godbey et al., 2005). This research
should be a primary focus framed by an ecological orientation to health promotion.
The role of tourism in fostering health, especially at the communal, national, and inter-
national levels, warrants heightened attention. The potential health benefits emanating from
a maturing tourism industry dedicated to social and environmental responsibility and sus-
tainability need to be better documented to illustrate the industry’s contributions to health
in its broadest contexts—sustainable economic development, enhanced cross-cultural un-
derstanding, friendship, and peace (Brandon, 1996; McAvoy, Dustin, & Clements, 1991).
Finally, the costs as well as the benefits of outdoor recreation engagements must be
factored into the health promotion equation (Dustin, McAvoy, & Goodale, 1999). This focus
is necessary to establish a sustainable foundation for enlightened service delivery. At its
core, everything depends on the health of the planet. An ecological perspective makes this
core clear. It illustrates the critical role of parks, recreation, and tourism in enhancing the
quality of life for individuals, families, communities, nations, and the world at large. The
park, recreation, and tourism profession, as much as any other profession is well-suited and
well-positioned to help create a healthy sustainable future. By this same test, this profession
must dedicate itself and its resources to the joyful promotion of health as a fundamental
An ecological model of heath promotion is rooted in a worldview that sees humankind
as part of nature. Western civilization has challenged this view from Descartes to the
present day (Dustin, 1992), but advances in ecological understanding reaffirm humankind’s
physiological, psychological, and spiritual rootedness in the natural world (Rolston, 1996).
The ongoing challenge is to embrace this ecological reality and reconnect with nature in
ways that contribute to the individual and collective health of all living things. The challenge
is particularly crucial to the healthy growth and development of children on whose behalf
today’s adult population bears the burden of responsibility. As Goodale avowed, “[t]here is
nothing more central to the evolution of human society and culture than the responsibility
of each generation for the next” (Dustin, 1994, p. 31). With this responsibility in mind,
it is time to acknowledge and advocate for the park, recreation, and tourism profession’s
centrality to the resolution of many health-related problems plaguing our sedentary and
urbanized way of life.
Altman, I., & Wohlwill, J. (Eds.). (1983). Human behavior & environment: Advances in theory and
research. New York: Plenum Press.
American Forests. (2002). Projected environmental benefits of community tree planting: A multi-site
urban forest project in Atlanta. Washington, DC: American Forests. Retrieved February 2, 2009,
from Atlanta2.pdf
American Institute of Stress. (2008). America’s no. 1 health problem. Retrieved March 5, 2009, from
Annan, K. (2008). Prologue. In E. Chivian & A. Bernstein (Eds.), Sustaining life: How human health
depends on biodiversity (p. ix). New York: Oxford University Press.
Beatley, T. (2000). Green urbanism: Learning from European cities. Washington, DC: Island Press.
Bixler, R., & Floyd, M. (1997). Nature is scary, disgusting and uncomfortable. Environment and
Behavior, 29, 443–467.
Bodin, M., & Hartig, T. (2003). Does the outdoor environment matter for psychological restoration
gained through running? Psychology of Sport Exercise, 4(2), 142–153.
Brandon, K. (1996). Ecotourism and conservation: A review of key issues. Environmental Department
Papers (No. 033). Washington, DC: The World Bank.
Center for Urban Horticulture, University of Washington. (2008). Retrieved March 15, 2009, from sheets/20-UrbEconBen.pdf
Chase D., & Godbey, G. (1983). The accuracy of self-reported participation rates: A research note.
Leisure Studies, 2, 123–126.
Chase, D., & Harada, M. (1994). Response error in self-reported recreation participation. Journal of
Leisure Research, 16(4), 322–329.
Chawla, L. (1988). Children’s concern for the natural environment. Children’s Environments Quar-
terly, 5(3), 13–20.
Chawla, L. (1998). Significant life experiences revisited: a review of research on sources of environ-
mental sensitivity. Journal of Environmental Education, 29(3), 11–21.
Chivian, E. (2004). Beyond wildlife-health and conservation. In D. Roe (Ed.), The millennium
development goals and conservation: Managing nature’s wealth for society’s health (pp. 25–
35). London: International Institute for Environment and Development.
Chivian, E., & Bernstein, A. (2004). Guest editorial: Embedded in nature: Human health and biodi-
versity. Environmental Health Perspectives, 112(1), A12–A13.
Chivian, E., & Bernstein, A. (Eds.). (2008). Sustaining life: How human health depends on biodiver-
sity. New York: Oxford University Press.
Chow, H. (2007). Physically active leisure among older adults—measurement, comparison and
impact. Saarbrucken, Germany: VDM Verlag Publishers.
Chu, C., & Simpson, R. (1994). Ecological public health: From vision to practice. Queensland,
Australia: Institute of Applied Environmental Research, Griffith University, and Toronto, Canada:
Centre for Health Promotion, University of Toronto.
Clements, R. (2004). An investigation of the state of outdoor play. Contemporary Issues in Early
Childhood, 5(1), 68–80.
Driver, B. (Ed.). (2009). Managing to optimize the beneficial outcomes of recreation. State College,
PA: Venture Publishing.
Dustin, D. (1992). The dance of the dispossessed: On patriarchy, feminism, and the practice of leisure
science. Journal of Leisure Research, 24(4), 324–332.
Dustin, D. (1994). The weight of the world: Why camp is ever more important. Camping Magazine,
66(4), 26–31.
Dustin, D., & McAvoy, L. (1982). The decline and fall of quality recreation opportunities and
environments. Environmental Ethics, 4(1), 49–57.
Dustin, D., McAvoy, L., & Goodale, T. (1999). The benefits equation. Parks & Recreation, 34(1),
Faber Taylor, A., Kuo, F., & Sullivan, W. (2001). Coping with ADD: The surprising connection to
green play settings. Environment and Behavior, 33(1), 54–77.
Faber Taylor, A., Kuo, F., & Sullivan, W. (2002). Views of nature and self-discipline: Evidence from
inner city children. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 22, 49–63.
Faber Taylor, A., & Kuo, F. (2006). Is contact with nature important for healthy child development?
State of the evidence. In C. Spencer & M. Blades (Eds.), Children and their environments:
Learning, using and designing spaces (pp. 124–158). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Floyd, M., Crespo, C., & Sallis, J. (2008). Active living in diverse and disadvantaged communities:
Stimulating dialogue and policy solutions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34, 271–
Floyd, M., & Johnson, C. (2002). Coming to terms with environmental justice in outdoor recreation:
A conceptual discussion with research implications. Leisure Sciences, 24, 59–77.
Floyd, M., Spengler, J., Maddock, J., Gobster, P., & Suau, L. (2008). Park-based physical activity in
diverse communities of two U.S. cities: An observational study. American Journal of Preventive
Medicine, 34, 299–305.
Frumkin, H. (2003). Healthy places: Exploring the evidence. American Journal of Public Health,
93(9), 1451–1456.
Giles-Corti, B., & Donovan, R. (2003). Relative influences of individual, social, environmental, and
physical environmental correlates of walking. American Journal of Public Health, 93, 1583–
Gobster, P. (2001). Neighborhood-open space relationships in metropolitan planning: A look across
four scales of concern. Local Environment, 6, 199–212.
Godbey, G. (2009). Outdoor recreation, health, and wellness: Understanding and enhancing the
relation. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.
Godbey, G., Caldwell, L., Floyd, M., & Payne, L. (2005). Contributions of leisure studies and
recreation and park management research to the active living agenda. American Journal of
Preventive Medicine, 28(2), 150–158.
Hancock, T. (1999). Healthy and sustainable communities—creating community capital. In 4th
European IUHPE Conference on Effectiveness and Quality of Health Promotion. IUHPE, May
16–19, Tallinn, Estonia.
Hartig, T., & Evans, G. (1993). Psychological foundations of nature experience. In T. Garling & R.
Golledge (Eds.), Behavior and environment: Psychological and geographical approaches (pp.
427–457). Bridgewater, NJ: Elsevier Science.
Hartig, T., Mang, M., & Evans, G. (1991). Restorative effects of natural environment experiences.
Environment and Behavior, 23(1), 3–26.
Kaczynski, A., & Henderson, K. (2007). Environmental correlates of physical activity: A review of
evidence about parks and recreation. Leisure Sciences, 29(4), 315–354.
Kaczynski, A., Potwarka, L., & Saelens, B. (2008). Association of park size, distance, and features
with physical activity in neighborhood parks. American Journal of Public Health, 98(8), 1451–
Kahn, E., Ramsey, L., Brownson, R., Heath, G., Howze, E., Powell, K., Stone, E. J., Rajab, M. W.,
& Corso, P. (2002). The effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity. American
Journal of Preventive Medicine, 22(4S), 87–88.
Kaiser Foundation. (2005). Generation M: Media in the lives of 8–18 year olds. Retrieved March 2,
2009, from
Kaplan, R. (2001). The nature of the view from home: Psychological benefits. Environment and
Behavior, 33(4), 507–542.
Kaplan, R., & Kaplan, S. (1989). The experience of nature: A psychological perspective. Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press.
Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of
Environmental Psychology, 15, 169–182.
Kellert, S. (2005). Building for life: Designing and understanding the human-nature connection.
Washington, DC: Island Press.
Kuo, F., & Faber Taylor, A. (2004). A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health, 94(9), 1580–1586.
Kweon, B., Ellis, C., Lee, S., & Rogers, G. (2006). Large-scale environmental knowledge: Investi-
gating the relationship between self-reported and objectively measured physical environments.
Environment and Behavior, 38(1), 72–91.
Louv, R. (2005). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature deficit disorder. Chapel
Hill, NC: Algonquin Books.
Maller, C., Townsend, M., Pryor, A., Brown, P., & St. Leger, L. (2006). Healthy nature healthy
people: ‘Contact with nature’ as an upstream health promotion intervention for populations.
Health Promotion International, 21, 45–54.
McAvoy, L., Dustin, D., & Clements, C. (1991). Tourism’s role in building a better world. In J. Zeiger
& L. Caneday (Eds.), Tourism and leisure: Dynamics and diversity (pp. 93–102). Alexandria,
VA: NRPA Publications.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. (2003). Ecosystems and human well-being: A framework for
assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press.
National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity. (2003). Obesity and other diet and inactivity-related
diseases: National impact, costs, and solutions. Retrieved March 17, 2009, from www.cspinet.
Outdoor Industry Foundation. (2008). Outdoor Recreation Participation Study for 2008. Retrieved
February 10, 2009, from
Payne, L., Orsega-Smith, E., Roy, M., & Godbey, G. (2005). Local park use and personal health among
older adults: An exploratory study. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 23(2), 1–20.
Pergams, O., & Zaradic, P. (2006). Is love of nature in the United States becoming love of elec-
tronic media? 16-year downtrend in national park visits explained by watching movies, playing
video games, Internet use, and oil prices. Journal of Environmental Management, 80(4), 287–
Pretty, J., Peacock, J., Sellens, M., & Griffin, M. (2005). The mental and physical health out-
comes of green exercise. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 15(5), 319–
Proshansky, H., Ittelson, W., & Rivlin, L. (Eds.). (1970). Environmental psychology: Man and his
physical setting. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Rails to Trails Conservancy. (2009). Retrieved May 3, 2009, from
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2000). Healthy places, healthy people: Promoting public health
& physical activity through community design. Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson.
Robinson, J., & Godbey, G. (1997). Time for life: The surprising ways Americans use their time.
University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press.
Rolston, H. (1996). Nature, spirit, and landscape management. In B. Driver, D. Dustin, T. Baltic,
G. Elsner, & G. Peterson (Eds.), Nature and the human spirit: Toward an expanded land
management ethic (pp. 17–24). State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc.
Rybczynski, W. (1999). A clearing in the distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the
nineteenth century. New York: Scribner.
Sallis, J., Prochaska, J., & Taylor, W. (2000). A review of correlates of physical activity of children
and adolescents. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32, 963–975.
Sasidharan, V., Willits, F., & Godbey, G. (2005). Cultural differences in urban recreation patterns: An
examination of park usage and activity participation across six population subgroups. Managing
Leisure, 10, 19–38.
Sax, J. (1980). Mountains without handrails: Reflections on the national parks. Ann Arbor: The
University of Michigan Press.
Schwab, K., Dustin, D., & Bricker, K. (2009). Parks, recreation and tourism’s contributions to Utah’s
health: An ecologic perspective. Leisure Insights, 29(1), 12–14.
Shinew, K., Stodolska, M., Floyd, M., Hibbler, D., Allison, M., Johnson, C. (2006). Race and ethnicity
in leisure behavior: Where have we been and where do we need to go. Leisure Sciences, 28,
Spangler, K., & Caldwell, L. (2007). The implications of public policy related to parks, recreation,
and public health: A focus on physical activity. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 4(1),
Takano, T., Nakamura, K., & Watanabe, T. (2002). Urban residential environments and senior citizens’
longevity in megacity areas: The importance of walkable green spaces. Journal of Epidemiology
and Community Health, 56(12), 913–918.
Turner, W., Nakamura, T., & Dinetti, M. (2004). Global urbanization and the separation of humans
from nature. BioScience, 54(6), 585–590.
Ulrich, R. (1981). Natural versus urban scenes: Some psychophysiological effects. Environment and
Behavior, 13(5), 523–556.
Ulrich, R. (1983). Aesthetic and affective response to natural environment. In I. Altman & J. Wohlwill
(Eds.), Human behavior and environment: Advances in theory and research 6 (pp. 85–125). New
York: Plenum.
Ulrich, R. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science, 224,
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2006). Retrieved February 10, 2009, from
datafiles 2006.htm
U.S. Census Bureau. (2006). Retrieved January 25, 2009, from
population/www/socdemo/age/age 2006.html
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2008). Overweight and obesity: Health con-
sequences. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 13, 2008, from
Van den Berg, A., Hartig, T., & Staats, H. (2007). Preference for nature in urbanized societies: Stress,
restoration, and the pursuit of sustainability. Journal of Social Issues, 63(1), 79–96.
Wilson, E. (1993). Biophilia and the conservation ethic. In S. Kellert & E. Wilson (Eds.), The biophilia
hypothesis (pp. 31–41). Washington, DC: Island Press.
Wohlwill, J. (1983). The concept of nature: A psychologist’s view. In I. Altman & J. Wohlwill (Eds.),
Human behavior and environment: Advances in theory and research 6 (pp. 5–37). New York:
... The unfamiliarity of men's role in agricultural production and environmental quality results from the dissociation between nature and men over time. This scenario was shaped by the industrial and scientific revolutions, and the expansion of human occupation where a culture transformation into a civilizing process took place, and the opposition between culture / civilization and nature has been established (Herculano 1992;Dustin et al. 2009). This distance between men and nature was followed by resulting imbalances, such as the uncontrolled population growth in large cities, unplanned dumping grounds, excessive pollution, rural exodus, diseases. ...
Full-text available
We proposed and evaluated a new approach (“Farm-school project”) to develop children's awareness about the role of people in agricultural production and environmental quality. The materialization of the “Farm-school” project was performed by a theoretical-practical 4-hour visit at an experimental farm. 240 Elementary school students were evaluated through concept maps and drawings, before and after the visit. There was a conceptual evolution in concept maps of 41 and 82%, and an increased number of categories per drawing of 23% and 37%. In concept maps, students did not relate people to the different spheres of agricultural production before the farm visit, but after, people became the main element. After the visit, students began to portray not only productive aspects in their drawings but also processes involving production, such as soil conservation practices and maintenance of mulch for soil cover. With the population concentrated in urban areas, there is a lack of contact with the rural landscape, generating a distorted view of food systems and rural land use, which affects social drivers and pro-environmental behavior. This imposes an educational task on governments to bring about information on agricultural production to elementary school students. We have proven the effectiveness of the “Farm-School” project as a low-cost educational policy alternative and a tool to increase children’s awareness about the role of people in agricultural production and environmental quality since students come to a better understanding of where food comes from and how it is produced.
... The last few hundred years have shown how human alienation from their natural environment has been having a diametric impact on human health and wellbeing. A growing number of scientific studies show a significant correlation between increased urbanization and poor physiological and psychological health (Dustin et al., 2009;Cyril et al., 2013;Capaldi et al., 2014). What is more, these studies show that life satisfaction, happiness and wellbeing are significantly lower in urban and densely populated areas (MacKerron and Mourato, 2013). ...
Full-text available
This book offers a compilation of transdisciplinary contributions that demonstrate the features of the relationship between tourism, health, wellbeing and protected areas. Attention is given to case studies stemming from current and future trends around these topics. Many of these case studies take place in European settings. The book has been divided into two sections. The first section (chapters 1-9) focuses on exploring the challenges and opportunities to achieve sustainable human and natural ecosystems' development through tourism. The second section (chapters 10-17) forwards important discussions on the intrinsic and extrinsic relationships between tourists, visitors and protected areas and the health and wellbeing benefits that these and other nature-based restorative and recreational environments can have on individuals. The book has a subject index.
... In addition, much of the existing work on naturerelated health benefits for youth has also largely been aimed at preventing or reducing negative outcomes in youth. Although these studies contribute to the evidence base supporting the benefits of nature for youth, work from a strengths-based PYD perspective can complement and extend this work by providing evidence that nature might serve as a contextual resource to promote positive youth developmental outcomes in a more holistic manner (Dustin et al., 2009). That is, many prior studies focus on singular mental or physical health outcomes or a small set of outcomes within cognitive, social, emotional, or physical domains of development. ...
Full-text available
Despite increasing emphasis on youth contact with nature and associated benefits, research has not examined the direct relationship between adolescents' nature-based experiences and holistic measures of positive youth development (PYD). This gap may stem from the lack of interdisciplinary work on nature and PYD. Our study integrates multiple disciplinary perspectives to explore direct associations between time in nature, connection to nature, and the five Cs of PYD (competence, connection, confidence, character, and caring) as well as the “sixth” C of contribution. From 2015 to 2016, we collected data from 587 diverse South Carolina middle school students (57% female, 40% BIPOC) between the ages of 11 and 14 ( M age = 12.9) and living in predominantly low-income communities. OLS regression analyses indicated that across all youth, self-reported connection to nature was a consistent positive correlate of overall PYD and each of the individual Cs. Time in nature was associated with overall PYD and competence. Findings demonstrate significant associations between nature-based experiences and PYD and underscore the importance of ensuring that diverse youth can access and enjoy the developmental benefits of nature and nature-based recreation opportunities.
... Wilson argued that humans have a hereditary psychological affiliation to other beings that evolved to react to certain natural settings or situations as part of their evolutionary process and because these settings were essential for survival, which still applies to modern-day societies. Recent scientific research based on the 'Biophilia' hypothesis has found that people tend to exhibit positive feelings and emotions toward domestic animals, being near environments or settings with natural elements [6,23,24]. ...
Full-text available
With most of the world`s population living in cities and urban areas, cities are currently seeking new strategies to integrate nature into the built environment. Urban waterways, and their adjacent urban areas, have been typically the main concern of these strategies. Urban waterfronts, although often sites of heavy development, are rarely designed to reflect the innate human need for contact with nature, commonly known as ‘Biophilia’. Within this context, the main objective of this paper is to explore biophilic indicators in Central Cairo’s waterfront, under the guidelines of ‘Biophilic Urbanism’ approach, which expands the practice of biophilia on the scale of cities and urban areas. The paper follows an analytical case study approach. Methods of data collection included a literature review, on-site observations, concurrent with semi-structured interviews when possible, and an online survey. An in-depth analysis of data was then carried out to assess the degree of integration of the Nile waterfront within the urban fabric of the city to identify biophilic perceptions in the waterfront. Results demonstrate that users of the Nile waterfront are rarely allowed physical access to the water. Visual access is mostly provided, with minor exceptions. Other cross-cutting findings indicate a lack of longitudinal and lateral social connectivity to the waterfront, lack of continuous appropriate pedestrian trails, and a general lack of green spaces and public amenities.
‘Garbage Island’. ‘The Pacific Trash Vortex’. ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. Titles abound for the growing build-up of waste, mostly microplastic and non-biodegradable, floating in the North Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, Garbage Island is just one egregious example of how human activities are exacting an enormous toll on the planet. Considerations of waste should be central to our field, not merely due to the degree to which leisure practices are deeply implicated in its production but because the very provision of leisure opportunities often rests on disposability. The time is ripe to develop a research agenda for understanding waste and disposability in leisure. This research note presents a brief accounting of waste as it has been taken up in our field in an effort to set a path forward for understanding and addressing this issue. Of course, explorations of consumption in leisure studies is well-trod ground and, arguably, critical considerations of how individuals consume through leisure (i.e. conspicuous consumption) form the backbone of our field. Rather surprisingly, however, relatively little, critical attention has been given to the very notion of waste, or the disposability that undergirds the material production and provision of leisure.
This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical foundations of health education. Although health education theories and models are many, the chapter focuses on the most popular four: the health belief model, the theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behavior, the transtheoretical model of change, and the social cognitive theory. These models are explained through a scenario that highlights determinants of health behavior and how they can be used by health educators to plan behavioral change. The chapter continues with basic instructional design principles that guide the development of health education interventions, stressing the interplay between health education and instructional design. Lastly, the chapter ends with a brief synopsis of two widely used health education planning models, PRECEED-PROCEDE and intervention mapping, to provide a systems perspective to health education interventions.
Naturbanization relates protected natural areas (PNAs) to demographic and economic change, territorial impacts, and the residential function. The purpose of this paper is to identify the triggers of naturbanization. The methodological process examines real estate web sources that showcase offers in PNAs as a business strategy to capture clients and gauges its influence on environmentally aware populations in Chile and Spain through an analysis of data provided by a survey. Results indicate that the attraction of these natural areas also extends to other areas and that environmental awareness is part of a more public discourse that conceals the real estate value that the capitalist model places on nature. Thus, the current dynamics of the real estate market turn naturbanization into a stratagem for conceiving nature as a new commodity.
We conducted a focused search of nine pre-determined leisure journals to (1) determine the prevalence and scope of research on children younger than 6 years (i.e., young children) published in leisure-focused outlets, (2) describe study designs and research methods used to study this age group, (3) tabulate definitions of child leisure, and (4) provide an overview of the studies’ findings. Overall, findings indicate a marked absence of young children from leisure research. Only 28 articles in almost half a century of leisure journal publications met inclusion criteria. Eight studies focused on children as the subject or participant, five articles relied on parents’ or teachers’ reports of their children’s leisure, and 15 articles studied the leisure of parents of children younger than 6 years. We conclude children’s voices are missing in leisure publications and discuss the implications this has for the study of leisure in young children and families.
Rationale/purpose Multi-sectoral partnerships have become a common strategy for addressing persistent public health issues, such as physical inactivity, mental health disorders and chronic illnesses. Yet, little is known about the role of the park and recreation sector to such health sector initiatives. The purpose of our study was to analyse the flow of information across a multi-sectoral mental health group hiking programme in Canada. Design/methodology/approach We used an online questionnaire to survey social service agency staff involved in delivering the programme in 63 communities. We collected data about their information seeking practices regarding four types of information: hiking and parks, mental health, funding sources, and the Mood Walks programme. Findings Social network analysis confirmed that social service agencies turned to park and recreation sector partners for information about hiking and local hiking amenities but did not seek information from them about mental health, funding sources, or the programme itself. Practical implications Park and recreation sector partners are viewed by other sectoral partners as sources of critical information in the delivery of this park-based health initiative. Research contribution This study illustrates the utility of social network analysis in understanding multi-sectoral park-based health programmes and confirms the relevance of the park and recreation sector to public health initiatives in nature settings.
In this study, we used the social-ecological model to identify factors associated with the adolescents’ depressive symptoms. We utilized data from the 6th year of the Korea Youth Panel Survey, which followed 4th year elementary school students nationwide from 2010 to 2016, and annual average PM2.5 data measured in each city/county/district throughout the country in 2015 by the Korea Meteorological Administration. Using multilevel analysis, we analyzed a total of 1,204 students in 57 communities. The null model analysis results identified regional differences in adolescents’ depressive symptoms. Regarding individual and social factors at level 1, the conditional model analysis showed that gender, parental abuse, and negative relationships with teachers and peers had statistically significant associations with adolescents’ depressive symptoms. Regarding community factors at level 2, it showed that more positive community awareness was related to lower levels of depressive symptoms among adolescents. In contrast, the analysis showed that adolescents living in communities with high levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 were more depressed. Based on these results, we recommend the provision of programs to improve relationships between parents, teachers, friends, and adolescents, and the implementation of intervention strategies to enhance community awareness and reduce air pollution to prevent and decrease adolescents’ depressive symptoms.
This article questions the wisdom of the patriarchal worldview underlying the practice of much contemporary social science. First, the assumptions informing such a worldview are challenged; the separation of humankind from nature, the mechanization of the Earth, and objectivity in science. Second, the limitations of a patriarchal perspective for guiding social science in general and leisure science in particular are examined. Third, ways in which feminist thinking may contribute to the development of a more connected and caring leisure science, a leisure science characterized by an ultimate goal of felicity are discussed.
Behavioral geography seeks to understand the relationship behavior has to the molar physical environment through the study of mediating psychological processes such as perception, cognition, appraisals, and decision making. Thus, behavioral geography has adopted the same goal as environmental psychology. The aim of this book is to give state-of-the-art reviews of several different areas of research on the behavior-environment interfaces within which both psychologists and geographers are actively involved. By asking both a geographer and a psychologist to contribute a review of each research area, answers are provided to the question of what each discipline contributes towards the understanding of the many behavior-environment interfaces. Chapters 2 to 11, constituting Part 1 of the book, review research on the basic component processes in the behavior-environment interaction of acquiring, judging, and appraising information. Chapters 12 to 17, assembled in Part II, review research on the basic component processes entailed by behavior-environment interactions in several of their real-world contexts such as choices of residential, retail, and recreational environments. -from Editors
We know that children need nature … or do we? There are certainly many reasons to think that nature plays an important role in child development. For many of us, intuition emphatically asserts that nature is good for children. We hold intuitions such as, ‘every kid needs a dog’, ‘children need a nice yard to play in’, and ‘children need “fresh air”’. Beyond these intuitions, there are also well-reasoned theoretical arguments as to why humans in general – and therefore children – might have an inborn need for contact with nature (e.g., S. Kaplan, 1995; Wilson, 1984). And there is a growing body of qualitative research consistent with this idea (Bardill, 1997; Hart, 1979; R. Moore, 1989; R. C. Moore, 1986; Nabhan, 1994; Sebba, 1991; Sobel, 1993; Titman, 1994). But what do we really know about the value of nature in promoting child development? What systematic evidence is there for or against this possibility? Is children's need for nature established fact, yet-to-be-substantiated folk theory, or simply myth? The question of nature's role in healthy child development is increasingly urgent. A consistent concern among the researchers studying children and nature is that children's access to nature is rapidly diminishing (e.g., Kahn, 2002; Kellert, 2002; Pyle, 2002; Rivkin, 2000). Not only may there be less nature for children to access, but children's access of what remains may be increasingly sporadic.
The relationships between fear expectancy, disgust sensitivity, desire for modern comforts, and preference for wildland and built environments and related activities were examined. Using a population of predominantly suburban and rural eighth-grade students (n=450), all three variables were found to be significantly related to preferences for wildland environments, recreational activities, and vocational preferences. Those with high fear expectancy, disgust sensitivity, and desire for modern comforts were more likely to prefer manicured park settings and urban environments and to dislike wildland environments. They were also more likely to prefer indoor social recreation activities and express significantly less interest in future careers working in outdoor environments. Finally, they were less likely to prefer appropriate water bodies for conducting an aquatic entomology lab. Studying negative perceptions may complement existing environmental preference research, which has tended to focus on why people prefer certain environments.