Want this CREATION CARE Lesson as a pdf? Click here CREATION CARE LESSON 1
To Quote Mary Poppins, “Let start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…”
And of course, for any good Bible based study, the “Very Beginning” is in Genesis. So grab your Bible or click here. Read Genesis 1 and count the number of times that “God saw that it was good”. That is a lot of good.
Now, you may expect that, having given you the Genesis 1 bible reading assignment, we shall now proceed to the discussion of how God’s creation is perfect and so on and so forth. That is, of course, true. In fact, there is probably no truer statement on earth. God’s creation IS perfect, and there is endless proof of how perfectly every piece of it fits together…. but you already know that truth, and will think me beyond boring if I continue down that road.
But what you might not know is that God built into our DNA, into our very psyche, a NEED for that goodness that is found in communing with his creation. And rewards for fulfilling that need. So let’s dive into the science, the FACTS about the cognitive benefits of nature.
The benefits of spending time in nature have been a hot topic in research recently. Everyone from psychologists, doctors, educators, and public health researchers to ecologists have been studying what happens when people spend more time out of door.
In one study, 57 adult participants were given a cognitive assessment test called the the Remote Associates Test (there must be some unspoken rule about giving psychology assessments names that don’t make sense). On day one, study participants’ average score was 4.14 out of a possible 10. Then the group went for a three day backing trip. Three exhausting days of hiking and sleeping on the ground on chilly nights at 11,000 feet in the fabulously beautiful Colorado Collegiate Peaks. After those three days and three nights, test scores jumped to 6.08 out of a possible 10. That’s a 50% increase in cognitive ability folks!
Okay, next fun psychology experiment. In this one researchers from the University of Michigan found that people performed 20% better on memory and attention tests after a stroll through an arboretum. But here’s the funny part, they didn’t even have to enjoy the walk! Some of the participants went for there walk on a cold winter day (remember this was in Michigan not Florida) but still benefited cognitively.
(PS if you want to learn more about the research on Nature and Cognitive, and physical and mental health check out the book Nature Fix)
So, what ideas do people have as to how we can use this knowledge?
Well, in some places schools are beginning to make nature and green space part of their campus. One school in Los Angles traded their concrete lot for a garden of native plants and found a sixfold increase in the kids test scores!
And, in recent years many urban planners have also started to use this information. City planners have started to include creative “green space” in their plans. A few months ago I had the chance to meet the city planner for Lowell, Massachusetts and she told me about the cities efforts to include “green walls” (like parking garage walls covered in ivy) and green roofs (roof top gardens) in their plans.
Of course, we can personally take advantage of this knowledge and spend time in the great out doors when we need that little cognitive boost! (When my daughter took the PSAT I made sure their was time before hand to go for a walk in a near by park).
If you and your kids want to join me, we can do our own “mini test” of the cognitive advantages of nature time. Here’s the plan. After having spent at least 2 hours indoors, pull up Hooda Math test and pick one that is appropriate for your child (Here are the fractions tests and here are the + – X / tests). Spend a few minutes getting familiar with the site so there is no “practice effect”. Then, set a timer for 2 minutes and count how many problems they answer correctly. Now go spend 20 minutes outside. Come back in and select the same test (the website will reshuffle the problems for you) and again set a timer for 2 minutes and count the number of correct problems. Then, in the comments put your number correct before nature time (BNT) and your number correct after nature time (ANT). It should look something like this: BNT 10: ANT 15. I can’t wait to see what we find!
Before Nature Time Score(2minutes)
After Nature Time Score(2 minutes)
Don’t forget to upload your results in the comments section of the blog. More Data points= Better Science
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Back packers study:
Michigan Nature Walk: