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C&NN’s Conference Focuses on Connecting Children of Color to Nature

C&NN’s Conference Focuses on Connecting Children of Color to Nature
“The growing disconnection of children from nature,” especially among Blacks and other children of color, was recently discussed at a national conference in downtown St. Paul.

Saint Paul RiverCentre was the site of the 2016 Children & Nature Network (C&NN) International Conference and Cities & Nature Summit May 24-27. Over 650 leaders from 14 nations along with federal, state and local policy makers, educators, health officials, conservation leaders, urban planners and others were in attendance.

“One of the goals of this conference is to find a way to reach deeper to all communities, and to engage every child in terms of nature and empowerment,” said National League of Cities CEO Clarence Anthony to the MSR.

St. Paul is one of six U.S. cities that the C&NN is working to improve nature access to all children, especially Black children and other children of color. “One of the things that we have found is the access and use of the environment [and] parks has been minimal for people of color,” states Anthony. “We have to have a real conversation about race and equity in America. Being able to pull nature, and children into this conversation is important.”

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman told the MSR, “It’s absolutely critical that we expose all of our children to nature…but particularly children of color. Too many of our kids are growing up disconnected from nature, disconnected even from their own backyard. Spending seven hours a day in front…
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