About Danielle Bain

Interview with Danielle

What is your most vivid Childhood memory of being in nature?

I grew up in the suburb of Sandringham (Melbourne) and didn't really spend a lot of family time in nature. However, when I was old enough to ride my bike to the local park by myself I used to love climbing the huge trees there. I used to challenge myself to see how high I could go and enjoyed that my parents had no idea I could that! I felt a sense of adventure which I think I carried with me ever since.

What is your understanding of Nature Deficit Syndrome?

dbI understand Nature Deficit Syndrome to mean the symptoms resulting from a "divide between children and the outdoors" (Richard Louv). Such symptoms that can occur from a lack of regular time spent in nature include obesity, depression and attention deficit disorders.

I think all children naturally enjoy spending time outdoors. Imagine that feeling you get when you just need to get outside, away from the hustle and bustle and into open space? Kids get that feeling too but they can't always verbalise it. I believe it's up to adults to facilitate this. Children who do not spend time in nature will not have the opportunity to build a strong connection with nature. I think it's important to be active in nature but I also think it's important to be still.

Why do you think it is important to connect with nature?

How will we learn to look after our planet if we don’t have a connection with it in the first place? Like any learning, we learn best by experiencing things. If kids only learn about the environment in the classroom without connecting to nature first, they will not take ownership... become advocates for protecting it.... they will not love it. If we can provide fun, memorable experiences in nature and create positive assocations with nature, kids and their parents will feel connected with it and will want to protect it and reap the physical and mental health benefits at the same time.

Where are your favourite parks in the Geelong Region?

Our family loves going to Ballyang Sanctuary. We always have a nice time watching the birds, exploring the tracks and bridges and collecting Banksia nuts and Eucalyptus flowers. Barwon Heads Marine Sanctuary is a favourite too. The rockpools have provided a great spot for the kids to learn snorkelling.

What is your perfect day in the great outdoors?

A bushwalk with my family would be a perfect day for me. We would have a picnic near a waterfall and I would take lots of photos of landscapes, wildlife and happy faces.

How does being in a natural environment make you feel both mentally and physically?

I can breathe more easily. The pressures of life seem to drift away. We always have the best quality family time when spending time in nature because we are focussed on each other and what is around us because we are not distracted by technology or household tasks.

Do you see the benefit in your children?

Yes! They are never at a loose end when they are in nature as they tend to use their imaginations more . Nature is familiar and comforting to them. They are drawn to it. They are more likely to play in the tree next to the playground than the playground itself! My 6 yo son asks me when we will go for our next walk! He clearly enjoys it!

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