Combatting nature-deficit disorder through the Great Wisconsin Birdathon


In the book Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv coins the term “nature-deficit disorder,” which describes the alienation of kids from nature in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world. Louv outlines the psychological, physical and cognitive costs of this unfortunate trend. The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, in collaboration with a number of partners, encourages families and teachers to participate in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon as a unique opportunity to get kids outdoors.

“We know that kids who connect with nature at an early age are much more likely to become champions for wildlife and wilderness as adults,” said Ruth Oppedahl, executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. “The Great Wisconsin Birdathon is a really terrific way to get kids engaged while they help raise funds for bird protection throughout the state.”

Classrooms and families can form their own teams that then ask friends to pledge a certain dollar amount for each species they see in a 24-hour period. Families can also register to participate in an expert-led Birdathon Tour to one of Wisconsin’s best birding spots, where they will learn about the variety of birds in the state and how to help protect them. Tour participants can go out paddling on Cherokee Marsh for an evening or spend a full day looking for waterbirds and warblers at Marquette-Green Lake. With more than 20 unique trips to birding hotspots throughout the state, there’s something for every age and interest. Registration is open today:

Funds raised through the Great Wisconsin Birdathon benefit the Bird Protection Fund, which supports priority bird conservation projects and programs, including the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, Osa Conservation and the Southern Forests Initiatives.

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Photo credits: Yellowlegs by Wisconsin DNR; child birding by Ryan Brady; indigo bunting by Jack Bartholmai.

Lindsay Renick Mayer
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
[email protected]
608-266-3138 (office)
608-843-6669 (cell)