Combating Nature Deficit Disorder

Connecting People and Nature

The plan is simple; reestablish the connection between people and nature.  Richard Louv coined the term Nature Deficit Disorder in his 2005 award winning, bestselling book, “Last Child in the Woods.”  Through this and many other related works, a growing trend is being illustrated.  This trend is a decrease in the amount of time people spend outdoors connecting to nature; less time doing things like camping, fishing, hiking, and hunting.  In fact, people spend on average 10 hours each day getting screen time on their technological devices.  Yet, they are spending on average less than 2 days a year immersed in a natural setting.

Along with a decrease in the amount of time spent outdoors, we are also seeing a decrease in the amount of environmental education students are getting in the classroom.  With our school systems fighting each year to balance their budgets, pay their teachers fair wages and still maintain academic standards, there are very little funds to cover extras like environmental education and extracurricular activities.   This is contributing to a decrease in the number of people getting into conservation work/careers as well as the increasing epidemic of human aliments like ADD, ADHD, Diabetes and a variety of circulatory and respiratory issues.

With people not getting to know their environment and the natural world, one can see a relationship between this and the current environmental issues such as climate change, over-exploitation of natural resources, pollution, and natural resource destruction.  As a species, when we connect to something we tend to build knowledge and respect for it, including each other.  Without a connection to nature, how can we ever hope to combat these environmental issues properly?  As living organisms, we are consumers of natural resources.  This makes us stewards of the land.  In order to be good stewards and preserve the natural world for future generations we need a connection.

At A&H Adventures we acknowledge the great work that many groups do to fix these environmental issues directly.  However, we are attempting to fix what we believe to be their foundation, human connections to the resource.  With each of our workshops and events we attempt to help a wide variety of wildlife and natural resource efforts by encouraging proper outdoor recreation etiquette and increasing funding for these initiatives through purchases of equipment and licenses/passes.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife, as this state's major natural resource management agency, receives some 75% of their annual budget from license and pass sales.  They also receive federal funding from excise taxes collected on certain sporting equipment.  The same is true for many other natural resource agencies throughout the country.  Without people getting out into parks, forests and other natural areas to purchase those items, there is very little support for wildlife management and conservation.   By getting Colorado residents outdoors we are insuring not only a connection to the natural world, but also providing much needed funds to support conservation.  It’s important to remember that less funding in natural resource management can lead to species being lost and a breakdown in overall ecosystem health.

We understand that people need to connect to nature in order to have the foundational knowledge and respect to care for it.  By engaging our participants with amazing classes and exciting outdoor adventures we help foster those connections.  With the base knowledge and terrific experiences that our guests walk away with, it is our expectation that they will continue to connect with the natural world that provides us with so much.  


Foundations of Outdoor Education

The owner, founder and lead educator of Angler & Hunter Adventures LLC, Paul Schoeninger, began his long and illustrious career in environmental education and protection in the early 2000’s. As a Forest Protection Officer and Field Interpreter with The US Forest Service, he was able to nurture his love for the outdoors and his passion for wildlife biology. During his time there, he acquired a great deal of knowledge about the flora & fauna of the region, wildlife and natural resource management principles, and discovered the important role that hunters and other outdoor recreationists play in conservation. He further pursued his passion through his career at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, where he continued to discover his enthusiasm and skills for teaching through Hunter & Angler Outreach programs plus serving his community as a Park Ranger.  Realizing that he wanted to continue outdoor education efforts in order to promote people spending time outdoors, Paul ran the outdoor education department at The Wildlife Experience, where he honed his skills as both a teacher and a community events coordinator.  Paul's passion for teaching, conservation, and encouraging outdoor recreation has inspired him to found A&H Adventures, a company dedicated to providing valuable experiences in the great outdoors for all. 

Paul obtained his bachelor’s degree in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University.  He continued his education and commitment to natural resource management by obtaining his Master's degree in Biology with an emphasis in environmental education from Miami University.

Alongside his 18 years of professional experience in environmental education and natural resource law enforcement, Paul has a quarter century of experience in hunting, camping, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities throughout Colorado, as well as in other areas of the country and beyond.