The Get Outdoors Florida! coalition is an union of public and private partners that include federal and state land managers; state conservation, health, and education agencies; educators; healthcare providers; non-profits, and businesses. These groups realize an imperative need to reconnect communities, families and individuals with nature to address health and societal issues, including sustaining fish, wildlife and their habitats, in the face of unprecedented development. Richard Louv, in his seminal book “Last Child in the Woods,” termed the growing disconnect between people and the outdoors and the resulting mental and physical health problems “Nature Deficit Disorder.” Many of the groups and individuals that are most excited about the coalition have been actively creating programs to get Floridians back to nature and are looking for ways to become more effective due to the scope of these concerns.
The Get Outdoors Florida! coalition brings them together by engaging communities, families and individuals in outdoor experiences to achieve healthier lifestyles and sustain Florida’s natural resources. Because an array of social issues can be connected with our nature deficit, Get Outdoors Florida! ambitiously aspires to be more than a champion of kids enjoying the outdoors. While getting people back into nature remains the common purpose, the partnership came together and continues to grow because of the shared knowledge that by connecting our communities with nature, we enhance opportunities for greater environmental education, public health, child welfare, increased tourism, fish and wildlife conservation and ongoing land management. This partnership of public and private entities understands the intersection between our communal disconnect with nature and the variety of social challenges affecting our communities’ senses of well-being.