Navigating Nature

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I found "The Prescription for Nature Deficit Disorder" [March 10] quite interesting.

Our family (a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter) learned two years ago from another family member of an activity called geocaching that dovetails nicely with the idea of finding nature where you least expect it. People place small "treasure boxes" in parks and woods and post the coordinates on a website,, for anyone with a handheld gps to enter so they can find it. The boxes usually have small toys and trinkets for young kids to trade with items of their own. But the real "treasure" is that the box is usually placed in a stretch of park or woods that even most locals don't know about. In addition to learning about many sources of "nearby nature" (as your article puts it) from this activity, we have given back and placed a few hides that let others learn of such places. A stunning example is Seton Falls, a nature preserve in a very urbanized part of the New York City borough of the Bronx. We designed the hide so that you start out seeing a sign at the entrance that tells you about all the possible flora/fauna along the way and have placed the box so that you end up in the middle of the preserve near a waterfall, where you cannot see any sign that you are surrounded by the tall buildings of this big-city neighborhood.

Harry Mandel

Mt. Vernon, N.Y.