This July, in the Jackson Hole News & Guide’s “Cure for Nature Deficit Disorder: Outdoor Play”, local pediatrician, Travis Riddell, M.D. reflected on his youth, as well as the changing lives of youth today.
Dr. Riddell referenced a number of studies proving an array of benefits resulting from spending time in nature. For example, he wrote, “perhaps more interesting and well established is the relationship between outdoor play, particularly in nature, and mental health. Children with more exposure to nature tend to have lower levels of stress and higher scores on the scale for self-worth.” The physical health benefits may not surprise most, however studies have found a “linear relationship between tree cover and attention: The more trees that surrounded the child, the more he or she was able to focus.” Most relevant however to this specific community, and to Rendezvous Park, Riddell acknowledged that,
“Indeed, Backpacker magazine ranked Jackson the second-best community in the nation in which to raise an ‘outdoor kid.’ Yet in my pediatric practice I repeatedly encounter children whose summer vacation is mostly spent glued to a video game console, TV or portable electronic device.”