Held in county parks, private preserves, botanical gardens and other green places across the country, nature day camps are surging in demand. In this piece, the Children and Nature Network's Sarah Milligan-Toffler and Richard Louv offer insight into why such camps are important.
In Singapore, outdoor education is a requirement in many schools, representing up to 20 percent of the curriculum. That number is likely to grow. The Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) recently announced that outdoor education will play an increasingly important role in education.
In Glasgow, Scotland, Play Scotland, a national organization concerned with the importance of play, organizes the community to fight for good quality play experiences for children, including access to green and wild spaces. The group hopes to be a model for communities developing wild areas across Scotland.
Japanese researchers say science may explain why a walk in the woods is good for the body and soul, suggesting that forest air contains beneficial substances including bacteria and plant oils.
Teens who manage ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities find peace and calming at the Academy at SOAR, a boarding school for teens in West Hartford, Connecticut. Outdoor learning combined with adventure sports, allows the minds of those who have ADHD and other disabilities to relax.
New research conducted by MaryCarol Hunter at the University of Michigan finds just ten minutes of exposure to nature, two to three times per week, produces positive mental health benefits. Much like medications, an "outdoor pill" prescription needs to be taken regularly and faces similar challenges. In order to help facilitate best results, Hunter suggests ideas for dense city areas as well as ways people can stay warm during the winter.
The American Heart Association recognizes the benefits of gardening and sponsors a Teaching Gardens program to help schools build gardens. Schools can apply online and if selected, AHA provides a planting day with all the materials needed to set up the garden, as well as demonstrations and garden-related activities. AHA also provides a Teaching Garden Tool Kit with educational lessons.
GoPlaces uses technology to connect teachers with free or reduced rate transportation to go on nature and science field trips. This year, the Ready, Set, GoPlaces initiative is partnering with local organizations to offer 50 free field trip busses for underserved Bay Area kids.
The Alaska Forest School is available to kids three and older, where children determine the curriculum each day. It is part of the forest school movement which represents a growing method of educating children outside of traditional classrooms. Forest schools provide students “learner-centered” opportunities to discover more about the natural world, and themselves.
Researchers at the University of Utah recently received funding to study the therapeutic benefits of nature over the course of the next three years. Working with nonprofits and veterans, they hope to uncover how nature positively affects people and hopefully determine if certain outdoor activities fair better than others.
The Nature Conservancy awarded 50 schools in 15 states across the country Nature Works Everywhere grants for the 2015-2016 school year with funding from Lowes and The Walt Disney Company. With the grant, schools will use gardens as outdoor science learning labs to address multiple conservation issues, including storm water retention, increasing biodiversity and pollinator habitat, and improving community green spaces.
The Lawson Foundation announced funding for 14 projects across Canada as part of its $2.7 million Outdoor Play Strategy. One of the recipients, Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Teaching at Okanagan College, is using the grant money to develop a training model for Early Childhood Educators’ (ECE) on the benefits of unstructured, outdoor play.
Scientific evidence demonstrates some of the strongest memories we have are not just those of sight and sound, but rather, those that involved all of our senses. A number of park and recreation agencies and landscape design firms are already incorporating these principles into the design of interpretive and educational exhibits in parks. Some have even found creative ways that allow the park visitor a full range of sensory experiences.
Dr. Shaheem, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Learning & Development People Specialist, shares several ways nature can boost your health in Dubai. Talking with other doctors and specialists, Dr. Samineh Shaheem shares ways we can all take advantage of Vitamin N.
Following a successful festival tour, the critically acclaimed documentary ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD by first time Canadian filmmaker Suzanne Crocker will kick of its U.S. theatrical release in Los Angeles beginning March 18th, along with a national theatrical tour in select markets featuring Q and A’s , special events and panels.
In Seattle, the demand for outdoor preschools keeps growing. There are currently 18 preschools in the Seattle area and Fiddleheads, one of the preschools, has a waiting list of 143 students for next school year. Despite the growing popularity, since many of these preschools are private institutions, they face their own set of challenges.
Musician Jack Johnson and his wife recently announced they are partnering with the Every Kid in a Park campaign to help encourage 4th graders to visit national parks. The Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation donated $25,000 toward the cause and is working with the Department of Interior to set up a field trip scholarship fund to help teachers cover field trip transportation costs.
A study conducted last year at Baylor University found that U.S. counties with nicer weather and prettier natural environments see lower rates of religious affiliation. The study authors suggest that people tend to use nature as a spiritual resource, making it a competitor with organized religious institutions.
Our brains are easily fatigued, according to cognitive psychologist David Strayer in a recent National Geographic article. But Strayer says that nature can serve as an antidote in what he coins the “three-day effect.” Bringing an EEG to measure his brain waves on a recent three-day backpacking trip with 22 psychology students, Strayer is prepared to capture his theory; he hopes to prove that nature allows the prefrontal cortex of the brain, also known as the brain’s command center, to rest.
Shortly after Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, John Baugh, a leader in the children in nature movement, worked with like-minded people to establish the No Child Left Inside Coalition. In December 2015, Congress replaced No Child Left Behind with the Every Kid Succeeds Act.