LEARN | CONNECT | ACT
Updated: 20 min 37 sec ago
Children, families and schools in communities across America will celebrate their local, state and national parks and public lands on Saturday, May 20th in commemoration of the 7th Annual Kids to Parks Day. Kids to Parks Day organizer, National Park Trust, estimates that nearly one million people will attend 1,000 park events across the country in what is fast becoming America’s national day of outdoor play. The Children & Nature Network is a proud sponsor of Kids to Parks Day.
A tool to encourage and assist parents to allow their children more opportunities to enjoy ‘risky’ outdoor play has been developed by the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health together with its Department of Pediatrics. The tool, Outsideplay.ca, walks parents through their options and identify priorities for their children. It aims to help them address common concerns about playing outside and give them both the information and a process to develop an action plan for changing their approach to their children’s outdoor play.
A 50,000 square-foot adventure playground which is supplied with discarded materials and hand tools for play, is set to reopen on New York City’s Governors Island for a second year this summer. Local nonprofit, Play:groundNYC, opened the playground to offer free weekend play and a summer camp to local children. According to the charity, nearly 3,000 children used the playground in 2016,
A key new study offers new insights to help connect children, families, and communities to the natural world. The Nature of Americans study, a national initiative and collaboration led by the late Steve Kellert and DJ Case, provides eight major findings and 22 recommendations. Nearly 12,000 American adults, children, and parents took part in the study.
Cities across the U.S. are transforming parking lots into nature-filled public parks and green spaces. As more people move to cities, the new parks give them access to essential green space, offering a host of benefits including to health, real estate and climate.
A University of British Columbia study finds that providing positive childhood experiences in nature, such as outdoor school programs, may help to develop care for the environment in adults. The study found that 87 per cent of study respondents who played outside as children expressed a continued love of nature as young adults. Of that group, 84 per cent said taking care of the environment was a priority.
The U.K.’s Brandon Primary School received a gold award for its participation in the Opal primary play program, a program aimed at giving children the opportunity to play freely. Educators at Brandon Primary say the focus on outdoor play has made a huge change in the way the children at the school play.
Nevada fifth-graders could get a free pass to state parks, and the parks themselves would get more dollars for maintenance under two new bills up for approval in the Senate. Assembly Bill 385, called the “Kids and Parks” bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Yeager, hopes to give young people an opportunity to become accustomed to parks to enjoy the outdoors and get them outside and more active.The program would be administered by the Division of State Parks.
In Atlanta, the now defunct Georgia Dome will be razed later this year and transformed into a new urban park. Due to open in 2018, the 13-acre park will serve as year-round community green space for arts and culture events, entertainment and community activations. As part of ongoing revitalization efforts, the park aims to serve as a backyard for those living in the surrounding Westside Atlanta neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue.
In Mumbai, children’s play areas are on the decline, leaving them with extremely limited safe outdoor play options. According to the NCERT All-India Education Survey, about 75% of Mumbai schools do not have their own playgrounds. Additionally, the Mumbai Traffic Department seeks to develop over 50 acres of existing children’s play areas into pay-and-park facilities.
A partnership between Earth Day Canada and the city of Toronto launches a pilot initiative that allows neighborhoods to get a permit to transform residential streets into playing fields for children. The StreetPLAY pilot project is in part a response to a controversial bylaw forbidding street encroachment and imposing fines for such acts as leaving outdoor play equipment outside.
Participation in Park Rx Day is expected to more than double this year, with celebrations expanded to include local, state, and regional parks and public lands. An event in San Francisco alone is expected to draw 3,000 people at Crissy Field at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Park Rx Day is April 23rd.
The number of studies on the restorative effects of natural environments on children has grown from a handful thirty years ago to more than 500. Richard Louv, a keynote speaker at the Children and Nature Network International Conference in Vancouver from April 18-21, says the studies show that children today are more likely to report symptoms of attention disorders and depression, and are more likely to be medicated for those problems than at any time in human history.
A new initiative from the Seoul Metropolitan Government will equip each city district with a ‘forest kindergarten’ outdoor space over the next few years, affording children living in urban areas a rare opportunity to experience nature. According to a new plan revealed by the Seoul Municipal Government, more than 400 forests in the city offering outdoor education programs will be opened by 2023.
To address the growing lack of nature connection, more than 800 leaders and activists from 22 countries will gather in Vancouver B.C. for the 2017 Children & Nature Network International Conference and Summit. This premier gathering of the children and nature movement brings together the world’s leading voices on creating a world in which all children benefit from nature in their daily lives.
To celebrate the 2017 Children & Nature Network International Conference & Summit, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds is building a Nature-Play pop-up park in Vancouver’s Devonian Harbour Park. The pop-up park will be filled with hay bales, water, soil, mulch, burlap, twine, logs, and joyful kids building forts, playing hard, and getting dirty. The pop-up park is a collaboration with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, the Children & Nature Network, and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
Ohio’s Springcreek Elementary School recently received a “Best School in Ohio Connect to Nature Award” from the Miami County Park District. Springcreek is the first school in Ohio and the U.S. to receive this designation. To qualify for the recognition, the school had to meet a set of criteria established by the Leave No Child Inside: Miami Valley Collaborative (MVLNCI) and Dayton Regional Green (DRG).
A new conservation program in Milwaukee hopes to engage traditionally under-represented young people in conservation. A partnership in Milwaukee between the parks department, Employ Milwaukee, Groundwork Milwaukee, Maximus and United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee aims to increase land stewardship efforts, address unemployment and increase representation of Milwaukee’s diverse community in service to public green space.
A safety organization in the Netherlands is campaigning to encourage parents to let children play more dangerously. The national safety body has launched a campaign called “Risky Play” which messages that children should be encouraged to play with penknives, climb trees and light fires – with appropriate supervision.
REI wants more women and girls to get outside. The outdoor co-op is launching a new initiative called “Force of Nature,” a commitment to making women the prime focus of the company’s nonprofit investments, gear development, and marketing for the rest of 2017. Among the efforts, the company plans to hold more than 1,000 events for the women throughout the summer.