Nature Deficit Disorder

Are our children suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder?

Yes! Children are spending 40-65 hours a week using electronics and fewer than 1 in 5 children walk or ride a bike to school.  Childhood obesity has increased from 4% in 1960 to 20% today. Children have less time for unstructured, creative play in the outdoors than ever before in human history.

So what are the causes of this?  Our children have more restricted access to natural areas and fearful parents keep children inside (safety concerns).  This gives our children less time for free play and more time kept indoors. The consequences will be our children are growing up with a lack of respect for natural resources, and making unhealthy lifestyle choices.  Their senses are dulled and they have a decreased empathy for plants and animals. This all leads to lower performance in school, destructive and apathetic behavior towards others, higher numbers of ADHD and other disorders.  Not to mention, low self-confidence and independence and diminished creativity.

What can we do to curb this?

Without continuous hands-on experience, it is impossible for children to acquire a deep intuitive understanding of the natural world that is the foundation of sustainable development. ….A critical aspect of the present-day crisis in education is that children are becoming separated from daily experience of the natural world, especially in larger cities.” -Natural Learning, Creating Environments for Rediscovering Nature’s Way of Teaching, Robin C. Moore, and Herb H. Wong

It is our mission at Chihuahuan Desert Charities to give students the hands-on agricultural experience they need.  The youth participating in our programs learn skills integral to adult lives, creating ambition and curiosity, helping boost academic performance.  Our programs utilize innovative education models: context-inquiry-communication (CIC) based learning approach, combined with new technologies and tools, to develop STEM skills in regenerative agriculture.

Nature Deficit Disorder: what is it?

As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees.”  -Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth

The DYGUP & SUSTAIN Program is a non-profit dedicated to regenerative organic agricultural practices to teach the benefits of land stewardship in the Paso del Norte Region. DYGUP, an acronym for Developing Youth from the Ground Up, is available to youth ages 14-17. The SUSTAIN program targets adults over 18 and combines "Roots Of Success" Environmental Literacy Curriculum with intensive farmer training. The DYGUP/ Sustain Program has many partnerships in the community including Taylor Hood Farms, Backyard  Farms LC, First Christian Church, and Las Cruces High-School. Chihuahuan Desert Charities is proud to be the fiscal sponsor for DYGUP & Sustain and support their important work in the Las Cruces community.

Support the DYGUP & Sustain Program at Legacy Farm in Las Cruces by visiting