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Museum of Natural History
The great fear of the great outdoors
The great fear of the great outdoors

Americans find ourselves in a period — arguably, the first in our nation's history — when our unease about being in nature is coming to outweigh our desire for it. We have a growing intolerance for inconvenience, a feeling well captured by the suburban fifth-grader who memorably told nature advocate Richard Louv, “I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where the electrical outlets are.” Of course adults have our own version of that. Being on the trail, in the woods, or on the river for days on end brings not just thoughts of blisters and bugs and rain and heat, but perhaps more alarming, the loss of cellphone service and Facebook. Yet the problem...

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