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About the Lecture: Since the publication of Richard Louv's important book, Last Child in the Woods , parents and educators finally have a term for a situation they have been worried about for years: Nature Deficit Disorder. This idea contends that when children lose intimate contact with the out-of-doors and the plants and creatures that dwell there, their lives (and the culture as a whole) suffer for it in many ways. Dr. Pyle's concept of the "extinction of experience" is parallel: when common elements of diversity become extinct within our own easy reach, it says, the people become increasingly alienated from nature, and apathetic to its conservation--thus setting in motion a formidable cycle of loss. Together, Nature Deficit Disorder and the Extinction of Experience deliver a one-two punch that promises dire consequences for both humans and the land. His experience suggests that this downward spiral is reversible, if we can manage to reinstate deep experiences in the real world in the lives of our young--experiences like catching frogs, building forts, and chasing fritillaries, such as many of us took for granted in our own youth. Drawing from his life as a lepidopterist, a writer, and an educator, Dr. Pyle will show how getting our feet back on the ground and our heads in the leafy skies can bring us all back home.
About the Author: Robert Michael Pyle is an award-winning writer, independent biologist and distinguished alumnus of Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He has authored 15 books -- including Wintergreen, The Thunder Tree and Chasing Monarchs – and the Audubon Society’s Field Guide to North American Butterflies. He won the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award for natural history literature. Throughout the year of 2008, Dr. Pyle will be undertaking a historic journey to find, experience, and identify as many of the approximately 800 species of butterflies as possible in the United States and Canada. The literary fruits of this project will be published by the Houghton Mifflin Company as a book entitled Swallowtail Seasons: The First Butterfly Big Year. You can check out his online blog at: http://www.xerces.org/
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