Childhood collecting in nature: quality experience in important places

Thomas H. Beery, Kristi S. Lekies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A need for a more specific understanding of childhood geographies has motivated an investigation of one activity, childhood collecting in nature. This study examined collecting behavior, places of collecting, and the relationship of these places to environmental connectedness in adulthood. Topophilia is presented as a guide to help consider why children collect in nature and to expand upon a limited understanding of collecting behavior. These ideas are explored with a mixed-method design strategy involving surveys and semi-structured interviews with a sample of Swedish university students. Results show collecting in nature to be a widespread, meaningful, and memorable experience in the formative years of participants. Results also demonstrate potential support for topophilia as a way to understand the childhood collecting nature phenomenon. Implications include recognition of the importance of family to support children’s engagement in the natural world and proximate access to nature as a critical aspect of childhood experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-131
Number of pages13
JournalChildren's Geographies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Other Natural Sciences (107)
  • Pedagogy (50301)


  • Collecting in nature
  • connectedness to nature
  • nature play
  • place
  • place memories
  • topophilia


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