Texas data shows contact with nature is an important part of growing up and linking Texans to one another; competing priorities and other factors impede getting outdoors.
AUSTIN— The findings from an unprecedented national study of Americans’ relationship to nature reveal an alarming disconnection, but also widespread opportunities for reconnecting. The results are prompting nature conservation, environmental education, and outdoor recreation leaders to rethink how they work to connect people with nature.
“The vitality of our state’s efforts to conserve our wild things and wild places depends on the connection Texans have with the natural world around them,” says Carter Smith, Executive Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “For us to be successful engaging our diverse and burgeoning communities, it is imperative that we understand how people from all ages, backgrounds, and geographies view nature and how they choose to experience the outdoors. The Nature of Americans study helps answer these fundamental questions, giving us much-needed insight about how best to tailor future outreach, programs, and services to meet people where they really are, not where we assume they are.”
The Nature of Americans National Report: Disconnection and Recommendations for Reconnection reveals important insights from a study of nearly 12,000 adults, 8 to 12 year old children and provides actionable recommendations to open the outdoors for all.
In Texas researchers interviewed more than 200 children, surveyed more than 2,000 adults and conducted six focus groups in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
Here are some insights into the Texas data:
- Thirty-seven percent of Texas children have more fun playing outdoors than indoors.
- Forty-nine percent of children in Texas have the same amount of fun indoors as outdoors.
- Three-quarters of Texas adults rate nature as one of their more enjoyable interests.
- Almost all children interviewed in Texas like being outdoors exploring woods and trees.
The core premise of the study’s recommendations is that connection to nature is not a dispensable amenity but is essential to the health, economic prosperity, quality of life and social well-being of all Americans.
The Nature of Americans is led by DJ Case & Associates. It builds on the late Dr. Stephen R. Kellert’s research on the importance of contact with nature to human well-being. This unique public–private collaborative is sponsored by the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Disney Conservation Fund, Morrison Family Foundation, Wildlife Management Institute and Yale University.
More information and reports are available at NatureofAmericans.org.
The report focusing on Texas results can be found at https://natureofamericans.org/findings/state-level/texas.
For families wanting to reconnect with nature, visit http://www.naturerockstexas.org/.