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Humans have been learning in the outdoors for all of recorded history. In the past, activities such as horsemanship, hunting, and farming were more likely learned for sustaining life and productivity. Throughout the Industrial Revolution and into the information age, learning in the outdoors has taken on a more specific connotation. In general, the types of learning that occur in outdoor settings fall into these major areas: outdoor education, outdoor recreation, experiential learning, environmental education, and adventure education/therapy. Often theories that support one area of focus such as outdoor education are also espoused in another area of focus such as adventure therapy.

The idea that children are experiencing a “nature deficit disorder,” which was popularized by the book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children ...

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