Stephanie A. Coulson

Capital Regional District
“Raising environmentalists”: The decline of children’s outside play and visitation to natural spaces in western societies has been the subject of academic inquiry and targeted strategies from protected area managers for several years. Childhood experiences in nature are believed to be a key component in the formation of lifelong environmental values, including support for protected areas and conservation efforts. It has therefore been proposed that a decline in children’s outside play or park visitation may result in ‘generational environmental amnesia’, or decreased support for protected areas and conservation efforts in the future. Since many children rely on their parents to bring them to parks and other natural spaces, it is important to understand what motivates parents to facilitate these outside play and nature connection experiences if protected area managers hope to effectively promote children’s park visitation. Qualitative data from 25 in-depth interviews with parents in Victoria, BC, suggests that parents’ personal experiences in nature and their social environment are two key determinants of pro-outside play parenting practices. In this presentation, these and other significant motivators, as well as their implications for protected area managers, will be discussed.