Urban space isn't the best place to connect with nature, but an initiative announced Wednesday by a national group intends to help youngsters, including those in Madison, learn more about nature in the city.
The initiative, Cities Connecting Children to Nature, is a joint venture of the National League of Cities and the Children & Nature Network, striving to get children who live in cities in touch with the outdoors.
Madison is one of seven cities selected for the initiative. The others are: Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; St. Paul, Minnesota; Louisville, Kentucky; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Providence, Rhode Island.
"Madison has a wealth of urban nature," said Mayor Paul Soglin. "But not all kids get a chance to enjoy it. This initiative will move us in the right direction."
Local organizations working together on the initiative include Public Health Madison and Dane County, Madison Parks and many other groups that work with children.
A planning grant will be used to work on increasing access to nature by organizations serving youth and families of color, to ensure all youth have access to time in nature.
A March 5 kickoff event at Warner Park Community Center will give youth and community leaders a chance to review Madison's natural assets, and the challenges of giving all children the time to connect with nature.
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