07/13/2012 08:02 am ET Updated Sep 12, 2012

10 Reasons Why We Need Vitamin N

"I recall my father's dark tanned neck, creased with lines of dust, as he tilled our garden. I ran ahead of him, pulling rocks and bones and toys from his path." -- The Nature Principle

In Last Child in the Woods, I focused on why children need nature. In my latest book, The Nature Principle, I tell how the whole family -- and whole communities -- can become happier, healthier and smarter through more contact with the natural world.

Here are 10 reasons children and adults need nature:

10 Reasons Why We Need Nature

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[1] Juan Antonio Martínez Rojas, Jesús Alpuente Hermosilla, and Pablo Luis López Espí y Rocío Sánchez Montero, "Physical Analysis of Several Organic Signals for Human Echolocation: Oral Vacuum Pulses," Acta Acustica United with Acustica 95, no. 2 (2009): 325 - 30.

[2] R. S. Ulrich, "View through a Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery," Science 224 (1984): 420 - 21.

[3] M. Bodin and T. Hartig, "Does the Outdoor Environment Matter for Psychological Restoration Gained Through Running?" Psychology of Sport and Exercise 4 (2003): 141 - 53.

[4] C. Antonioli and M. Reveley, "Randomised Controlled Trial of Animal Facilitated Therapy with Dolphins in the Treatment of Depression," British Medical Journal 331 (2005): 1231.

[5] A. Baverstock and F. Finlay, "Does Swimming with Dolphins Have Any Health Benefits for Children with Cerebral Palsy?" Archives of Disease in Childhood 93, no. 11 (2008).