Southern Cross University Research Project

Is 'Nature' diminishing in childhood?
Join our NatureCollective to investigate this research problem


About the project

Research increasingly shows a serious decline in human interactions and experience in nature. There is speculation that the impact of not experiencing nature is severe and has been referred to as 'nature-deficit disorder' (Louv 2005, 2011). This study aims to understand the extent of this phenomenon from the perspective of children and young people across different cultural contexts. The project takes a considerable leap forward by not only attempting to understand claims made about childhood nature-deficit disorder, but indeed children's conceptions of nature in their everyday lives. In so doing, this project applies an innovative child-framed research methodology (where young people are the researchers) so as to understand the impact of changing environments on childhood.

Meet the research team

Project leader and chief investigator

Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles

Research assistants

Simone Lewis and Tiffany Cutter

How to get involved

We invite you to be a researcher. We are looking to work with young people aged 9-14 to develop an understanding about how children and young people experience nature in modern society. The sites that we are focusing on at this time are Tamborine Mountain and Coolangatta, Queensland Australia.

What you'll get to do:

  • Discover how to be a researcher by participating in a research training workshop at Southern Cross University, Gold Coast Campus;
  • Learn how to use iPads to conduct research about nature and young people;
  • Discuss environmental issues and concerns that are important to you; and
  • Join a think-tank where we analyse all the research.

Does this sound like you? Then get in touch with Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie, Southern Cross University, School of Education, or 0418 801 893. If you cannot email your consent form please mail it to:

Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles
School of Education, Southern Cross University
Gold Coast Campus, Locked Mail Bag 4

Information sheets and consent forms

Information Sheet for Children and Young People
Consent Form for Children and Young People
Information Sheet for Parents/Guardians
Consent Form for Parents/Guardians

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Southern Cross University (ECN-15-394).

This project is funded by the Southern Cross University SEED grant funding program (Office of Research).