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The Anti-Helicopter Parent’s Plea: Let Kids Play!

C&NN News - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:16am
Blogger, author, free play advocate and dad Mike Lanza is a firm believer in risky, free play. To practice what he preaches, Lanza consciously transformed his Silicon Valley family home into a kid hangout to foster free outdoor play.

New Outdoor Museum Space Unleashes Creativity

C&NN News - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:13am
A collaboration between the Children's Museum of Illinois and Millikin University's School of Education has led to a new outdoor play area for deep, outdoor creative play. The play area will be used as a teaching model for early childhood education majors in the School of Education. In addition, the museum will be working with local public schools to bring outdoor play to local children.

Forest School Initiative Aims to Bring Learning to the Great Outdoors

C&NN News - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:09am
A forest school in Ireland aims to become the hub for the region’s forest schools, teaching students the importance of protecting the environment, bushcraft, building fires and shelter and identifying nature. The Wexford Forest School, the first forest school in the region to be funded by a local authority, will soon welcome children from schools across Wexford.

Sixth Grade Camp: 70 Years of Nature, Human and Otherwise, at Cuyamaca

C&NN News - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:04am
For 70 years, Cuyamaca Outdoor School has specialized in hands-on, low-tech nature-based education. Once one of three camps operated by The San Diego County Office of Education, funding decisions have left Cuyamaca the one one standing. Yet, demand only continues to grow.

Natural Families Stipends for Family Nature Clubs

C&NN News - Wed, 10/19/2016 - 8:23pm
With support from Disney Conservation Fund, C&NN is pleased to offer $500 stipends for materials reimbursement in addition to environmental education (EE) tools and resources. With support from Disney Conservation Fund, C&NN is pleased to offer $500 stipends for materials reimbursement in addition to environmental education (EE) tools and resources. Each stipend recipient will be awarded a “Nature Action Backpack” filled with EE curriculum, tools and supplies, and provided with training for forming a new (or extending the work of an existing) Family Nature Club that provides creative, exciting and innovative ways to connect families to nature. The EE curriculum is intended to enrich the offerings of Family Nature Clubs to its membership, and not replace the core value of unstructured time to play and explore in the natural world. ELIGIBILITY Any Family Nature Club or organization is eligible to apply. Families looking to start a club are welcome to apply – Family Nature Clubs do not need to be a registered nonprofit to apply. One application per club. Past applicants and recipients are eligible. Any Family Nature Club or organization is eligible to apply. Families looking to start a club are also welcome to apply .

Natural Families Grants Propel Family Nature Clubs at Zoos and Aquariums

C&NN News - Wed, 10/19/2016 - 8:17pm
For the past three years, Nature Play Begins at Your Zoo & Aquarium grants have been awarded to AZA members to create and expand opportunities to connect families to nature. With support from the Environmental Protection Agency and in partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, C&NN is pleased offer $5,000 stipends to accredited zoos and aquariums for the ongoing enrichment of Family Nature Clubs.

Can a College Course on Birding Change the World?

C&NN News - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 1:00pm
NBC News profiles "Birding to Change the World," a course designed by UVM professor Trish O’Kane for students who may not have had extensive or any outdoor exposure. The course teaches students about the natural world, provides an opportunity for them to work with children from immigrant families or underprivileged backgrounds as well as learn about citizenship. UVM will assess the impact of the class on its own students, as well as track the progress of local children through middle school and high school to see how they fare academically.

Mental Health Awareness Week Celebrates Nature

C&NN News - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 12:58pm
Monday, October 17th, is World Mental Health Day. In honor of the awareness day, the Mental Health Foundation has organized Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) focused on the theme of the importance of connecting with nature for its benefits on health and wellbeing. More than 150 events and activities will be held during Mental Health Awareness Week, many suitable for families.

Pikachu or Sparrow? Many UK Kids Know More About Pokemon Than Nature

C&NN News - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 12:50pm
New research from the U.K. highlights the disconnect to nature for some children in Britain. Among the study stats, only 38% of children surveyed have ever climbed a tree, compared to 60% of their parents. The research also reveals a strong desire for parents to reconnect kids to nature and spend more time outdoors.

A Breath of Fresh Air: City of Grand Rapids Aims to Reconnect Children with Nature

C&NN News - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 10:36am
The city of Grand Rapids, Michigan is taking steps to become a leader in connecting children with nature. Collaborations between local schools, the mayor, parks and recreation, nonprofits, students, parents, and passionate citizens are bringing community input, leadership, research and expertise together to create plans for parks, outdoor learning labs and playgrounds that encourage more nature access for more of the city's children. Grand Rapids is part of the seven-city cohort of Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN), a partnership between the Children & Nature Network and the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education & Families.

Survey Finds that More Minorities are Hiking and Camping

C&NN News - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 10:28am
A recent survey of nearly 3,000 Americans and Canadians found that among the 1 million people who began camping for the first time last year, nearly 1 in 5 was black and 11% were Latino, nearly twice the rate for those groups in 2014. This is a significant shift for a demographic long underrepresented among campers and hikers in the U.S., even as the nation’s population becomes more diverse. The survey, commissioned by Kampgrounds of America, showed that the latest generation of campers more closely represents the nation’s overall ethnic breakdown.

Vancouver Area Children Take Learning to the Forest

C&NN News - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 10:24am
For a growing number of Vancouver area children, the forest, and not the traditional classroom, is where they learn. Forest Schools, an educational approach based on developing a relationship between the learner and the natural environment, have been on the rise in Vancouver over the past five or six years. The schools allow students of all levels and abilities to gain hands-on experience in nature, learning through discovery.

The Child in the City Conference

C&NN News - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 10:00am
The 8th Child in the City conference will be held between November 7-9, 2016 at the University College in Ghent, Belgium. This international event is a joint project of the Child in the City Foundation and the European Network of Child Friendly Cities (ENCFC) in which participants gather with the shared aim of creating child-friendly cities.

How to Raise an Environmentalist

C&NN News - Fri, 09/30/2016 - 11:24am
New research is helping social scientists develop a deeper understanding of how to motivate children to care about nature and the environment. Study findings suggest early contact with nature, empathy for fellow creatures, and fostering a sense of wonder and fascination of nature through direct experiences are all important.

Illinois Parents Demand More Recess for Children

C&NN News - Fri, 09/30/2016 - 11:18am
A group of parents in Illinois are fighting for more outdoor play during the school day for local elementary school students after recess was cut back to two 15-minute recesses per week. The parent group recently appeared before their local school board to present their case and urge school officials to consider allowing 30 minutes of recess every day for children.

Study Questions Judging Parents For Letting Kids Go Outside Unattended

C&NN News - Fri, 09/30/2016 - 11:11am
A new report from the University of California called "No Child Left Alone" considers how moral judgments from society may affect parents’ behavior. The report looks at relatively recent trends of constant direct adult supervision of children, including during play, and considers the repercussions on parents who deviate from such parenting norms .

Outdoor Classroom Day

C&NN News - Fri, 09/30/2016 - 11:05am
October 6th marks Outdoor Classroom Day, a global campaign to celebrate and inspire learning and play outside the classroom. The goal of the awareness day is to get as many children as possible outside for at least one lesson in the school day. Any school can participate.

Former First Lady Unveils New Health Initiative at Houston Methodist

C&NN News - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 11:51am
Former first lady Laura Bush highlighted the decline in the amount of time that children spend outdoors today and the impact on their health during an address at "A Natural Connection: Exploring Positive Outcomes in Health & Healing through Nature”, an ongoing symposia focused on bringing awareness of natural resource issues to new audiences in both rural and urban areas. More than 250 statewide conservationists, business leaders, clinicians, and researchers attended the event at Houston Methodist.

Designing the Future of Play

C&NN News - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 11:48am
50 organizations from across the United States will receive a grant to implement an innovative play space in their city through KaBOOM!, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting play in underserved communities. The winners of the grants will develop and install their innovative play space designs throughout the fall and spring.

Kids Who Play More Outdoors May Be Less Likely to Have Problems with Peers

C&NN News - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 11:47am
Kids who spend more time outdoors seem to gain a boost in their peer relations, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. Overall, children who spent more time outdoors were less likely to have peer relationship problems and better psychosocial health, based on scores such as functioning and aggression.