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Edward Zigler Center Child Development & Social Policy / Spring 2013 Lecture Series: "The Human Need for Nature and its Role in Childhood Health and Development"

Stephen Kellert, PhD, will discuss the notion of an inherent human need for contact with nature, something called “Biophilia.”  The evolutionary logic of biophilia and its occurrence through diverse values of the natural world will be described.  Biophilia is viewed as a “weak” biological tendency, whose development is highly dependent on learning, experience, support, and connection to place, especially during childhood.  The problem of increasing degradation of and disconnection from nature in modern times, again as afflicts children, will be described as impeding optimal development and leading to increasing health risks.  Of particular concern are declining contact among children with the outdoors, increasing dependence on electronic media, growing reliance on formal and abstract learning, and the prevailing design of the built environment.

  • Dr. Stephen R. Kellert is the Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social cology and Senior Research Scholar at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. 
  • He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Bio-Logical Capital, a firm that invests in and implements sustainable land uses on large landscapes, as well as he was a founding partner of Environmental Capital Partners, a private equity company investing in the environmental sector.
  • His work focuses on understanding the connection between nature and humanity with a particular interest in the human need for nature, environmental conservation, and sustainable design and development. 
  • His awards include:
    • the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award, Connecticut Outdoor and Environmental Educators Association;
    • the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Service Award, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies;
    • the 2009 George B. Hartzog Award for Environmental Conservation; the 2008 American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Best Book of Year Award in Architecture and Urban Planning for the book Biophilic Design;
    • the 2005 Outstanding Research Award for contributions to theory and science, from the North American Association for Environmental Education; the 1997 National Conservation Achievement Award, from the National Wildlife Federation;
    • the 1990 Distinguished Individual Achievement Award, from the Society for Conservation Biology;
    • the 1985 Best Publication of Year Award, from the International Foundation for Environmental Conservation; and,
    • the 1983 Special Achievement Award, from the National Wildlife Federation. 
    • Dr. Kellert is also listed and described in “American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present.”  He has served on committees of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been a member of the board of directors of many organizations.
    • He has authored more than 150 publications and books, including his recently released, Birthright.

Audiocast: Biophilic Design: Opening the Door to Nature


The Edward Zigler Center on Child Development and Social Policy is a platform for speakers from academia, levels of government, community organizations, service agencies, the business world and the media to discuss their work and its policy implications.


  • Stephen Kellert, PhD
    Professor Emeritus; & Senior Research Scientist


Host Organizations


Free: free


Lectures and Seminars, Training
Feb 201322Friday
11:30 AM12:30 PM
William L. Harkness Hall, WLH-116100 Wall StNew Haven, CT