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Updated: 10 min 53 sec ago

REI Is Closing on Black Friday Again

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 10:10pm
The outdoor gear co-op REI is closing on Black Friday for the third year in a row. The co-op plans to shutter all 151 of its stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, days which kick off the holiday season’s peak period. REI will also not process any online orders on Black Friday, which is not a statutory holiday but a regular work day. It will pay its 12,000 employees, including hourly workers, for their time and encourage them to spend that Friday enjoying the outdoors.

More Expensive National Parks May Threaten Access to Nature

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 9:24am
Under a new proposal from the National Park Service, 17 of the most popular U.S. national parks could see entrance fees for weeklong passes increase from around $25 to $30 to $70 for a single private vehicle. Many worry the cost increase will be a barrier for some families and will disproportionately affect families of color in accessing the parks.

New Publication on Engaging Children and Families in City Building

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 9:21am
A new report from the 8 80 cities project, the Bernard van Leer Foundation and the Urban 95 program entitled " Building Better Cities with Young Children and Families" offers tactics, strategies and principles for the participation and engagement of children, young people and their families in creating more child and family-friendly cities. The report used a mix of background research, place-based research and interviews with researchers, practitioners, policymakers and thought leaders along with snapshots and case studies of innovative and interesting projects. C&NN's Jaime Zaplatosch, Director of Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities, served as an advisor for the report.

UC Berkeley Taps Former National Park Service Director to Lead New Parks Institute

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 9:09am
UC Berkeley recently established a new institute, the Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity to tackle the most pressing issues facing the future of parks, including climate change and equitable access. The Institute’s inaugural executive director will be Jonathan B. Jarvis, who served 40 years with the National Park Service (NPS) and as its 18th director from 2009 to 2017. During his tenure, Jarvis expanded the NPS by 22 new parks, and led the service through its Centennial with a vision for a second century of park stewardship, engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.

Technology Overuse May Be the New Digital Divide

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 9:04am
A new survey of technology use at home shows the gap in computer access between rich and poor students is rapidly closing. The gap in access to mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, has virtually vanished and high-speed internet access is becoming more commonplace. However, the survey found that screen time has also increased disproportionately for low-income children compared with the last time the survey was taken, in 2013.

Adair Elementary School in Philadelphia Gets a New Green Schoolyard

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 10:52am
Philadelphia's Adair Elementary School has a new green space, which gives students a great place to play that is environmentally friendly. The schoolyard was revitalized due to the efforts of a partnership among the School District of Philadelphia; the city's Departments of Water and Parks & Recreation; Friends of Adaire, a volunteer group of Fishtown community members; and the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit group working to create parks and protect land to ensure healthy, livable communities. The green schoolyard at the K-8 school will serve and features equipment designed to capture and reuse stormwater, a large rain garden with a nature trail, a toddler playground, and seating where residents can gather.

How Cities Can Get the Most Out of Their Parks

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 10:30am
Better facilities, targeted programming and more marketing are among the recommendations included in a new study of 175 neighborhood parks in 25 major American cities. From 2014 to 2016, researchers from the RAND Corporation, City Parks Alliance, and The Trust for Public Land observed park use, park-based physical activity, and park conditions, as well as the way users felt about their local parks. The study points to tangible ways that cities can encourage residents to use parks more in general, and for physical activity in particular.

UK MPs Told to Incorporate PE into Traditional Classroom Learning

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 10:24am
A new report on children's health and wellbeing from a U.K. parliamentary group calls for the national curriculum to incorporate physical activity into traditional classroom learning. The group also recommends that the curriculum include high-quality outdoor play and active learning. Among its recommendations is regular training on playtime learning for educators.

Australian School Sees Improvements with More Outdoor Time

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 10:20am
Students showed improved behavior as well as increased literacy and math skills two years after a Melbourne primary school introduced more frequent, regular outdoor play breaks into the school day. The radical overhaul of the school timetable allows students six breaks during the day. The initiative was inspired by standard practice in Finland, where it's mandatory for students to take a 15-minute outdoor break every hour.

The Boy Scouts Now Allow Girls

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 8:43am
Citing the evolving needs of working families and a desire to be more inclusive, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced Wednesday that it will begin accepting girls next year. Starting in 2018, the Cub Scouts (the program for seven to 10-year olds) will begin accepting female members. The BSA has not yet announced what female integration into Boy Scout troops (ages 11 to 18) will look like, but does state that girls will have the chance to work toward the highest rank of Eagle Scout beginning in 2019.

Outdoor Play Boosts Children’s Performance in Class, Says New Study

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 8:42am
A new study from Norway has found clear associations between the amount of time children spend in outdoor play and their progress in school. Among children of ages 4 through 7, researchers observed those who spent more time outside during child care performed better on an executive function assessment and showed fewer inattention-hyperactivity symptoms. The findings were consistent among children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as well as those not diagnosed with ADHD. 

U.S. Mayors Agree: Everyone Needs a Great Park Within a 10-Minute Walk

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 8:40am
The National Recreation and Park Association, Trust for Public Land and mayors from 134 cities launched the 10-Minute Walk to a Park Campaign with the support of 134 mayors from cities across America and from both sides of the political aisle. These mayors signed on during the past year, endorsing the goal of providing every neighborhood with a quality park that improves life for city residents, serves as a safe place for people to gather and adds to the beauty of the city.

Researchers Confirm : Old School Playing Really Is Better for Kids Than PE

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 8:39am
A research trial at seven schools in Glasgow, Scotland found that students who were encouraged to create their own games during outdoor free play time were more physically active when compared to time spent in a tradition PE class. The intervention, now a 10-week program, is being rolled out across 118 schools in Glasgow.

New Study: Children are Losing Physical Literacy

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 8:36am
According to a report released by the Australian Sporting Commission (ASC), half of the kids in year six in Australian schools haven’t mastered fundamental movement skills, such as throwing, kicking or leaping. The report also demonstrates that four out of five children do not meet the recommendation of one hour of physical activity per day, and many are exceeding sedentary behavior recommendations due too much time on screens.

Indian Children Have Less Opportunity to Play Outdoors Than Their Parents Had

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 10:04am
More than half of parents surveyed in India believe their child has fewer opportunities to play outdoors than they did as a child. The finding was part of a survey of 12,000 parents in 10 countries which found that over half of children globally play outside for one hour or less each day. In response to the decline in the time that children spend outdoors in India, a Delhi-based NGO is calling on teachers across India to take part in the global Outdoor Classroom Day campaign on October 12th.

Texas City Collaborates on New Nature Play and Education Project

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 10:01am
The city of Abilene, Texas has plans for a new nature play and educational area for all age groups. The nature play area plans include a canopy walk that allows children to experience treetop ecosystems, sand pits where replica dinosaur bones may be discovered, bouldering hillsides, prairie and wildflower restoration, organic walls, and a bird blind for viewing wildlife habitats. A key component of the project will be the training of over 100 early childhood caregivers and educators using the nationally-recognized, Growing Up WILD early childhood education program that encourages connections to nature as well as hands-on learning to improve school readiness. 

Too Much Screen Time Can Lead to Later Addictions in Children

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 9:55am
A clinical psychologist and tech wellness expert warns that kids today are exchanging outdoor time for gaming time, the result of which may cause structural changes in their brains as well as behavioral changes. Dr. Lisa Strohman says that science shows a direct correlation between the amount of time kids spend online with changes in their developing brains. She encourages families to adopt healthy guidelines for tech.

As Many As Two-thirds of B.C. Kids Are Going Outside Less Than Their Parents Did, Survey Suggests

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:15am
According to a recent survey, the vast majority of Canadians (95 per cent) agree that access to community green space will be important to their quality of life in the future, but three-quarters feel that their local green space could be better. These are two of the key findings of TD Bank Group's GreenSights Report, part of the TD Common Ground Project, an initiative focused on revitalizing over 150 community green spaces across Canada in recognition of the country's 150th year. To gather insights, TD commissioned a national poll, surveying 1500 Canadians, and hosted the TD Common Ground Think Tank, a roundtable bringing together a select group of green space experts to share their perspectives and discuss what is needed to create heathy, vibrant and inclusive spaces for future generations of Canadians.

Too Much Social Media Can Lead to ‘Virtual Autism’, Say Experts

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:11am
Psychologists at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia found that users, particularly children, who plug themselves into social media showed an inability to read facial emotions and had poor friendships as a result. The study compared 200 people who grew up without Facebook to those who have had social media as a part of their lives while growing up.

Educational Program at Denver Zoo Earns National Award for Work with Underserved Children

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:02am
A nature play program at the Denver Zoo has earned the Significant Achievement Award in Education from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The “Nurturing Scientists through Nature Play” program brings science learning to life for three target audiences — underserved preschool children, ages 3 to 5, their caregivers and their teachers. While at the Zoo’s 70-acre “classroom,” kids are able to use their exploration and discovery skills in largely unstructured play, using objects found in nature such as sticks, rocks and grass.

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