During our annual planning process, the Board of Directors of the Children & Nature Network created the 2014-2016 Strategic Agenda as a framework for the organization’s priorities. These six strategic priorities offer a road map for our direction for growth and developmental areas of focus.
1 – Launch the Research Center
By creating a Worldwide Research Resource for Connecting Children and Families to Nature, we will house and make freely available the most extensive collection of research, data and thought leadership making the scientific case for the benefits of connecting children and families to nature.
The Research Center will be an invaluable resource for advocates and practitioners in the movement, providing solid research, reporting and innovative resources to assist their work. All relevant research will be gathered, curated, and delivered in a searchable online platform.
2 – Improve Community Health Through Increased Time in Nature
Increase access to nature on schoolyards in communities where health risks are high and green space is sparse. By creating resources and building support for green schoolyards, we will help to create communities where all children have natural areas in which to learn and where families have safe places to engage in active living to improve physical and mental health. Active outdoor learning resources will be developed to promote child health and nature-based learning across the curriculum. Provide health professionals resources to connect families to nature. By supporting Park Prescription programs in target cities, we will provide health care providers with resources to connect families to parks. Implement City Plans to Connect Children and Families to Nature. In a partnership with the National League of Cities Institute (NCLI), we will work with municipalities and cross-sector community partners in cities to improve health, education, and quality of life for low-income residents. Through these initiatives, we will create innovative new approaches to engaging families in active outdoor experiences in nature.
3 – Create Nature-Rich Cities Across the U.S.
Implement City Plans to Connect Children and Families to Nature. In a partnership with the National League of Cities Institute (NCLI), we will work with municipalities and cross-sector community partners in cities to improve health, education, and quality of life for low-income residents. Citywide scans and assessments will identify strengths, gaps, and shared metrics. Leadership Academies will convene and train teams in building nature into each city’s environment and programs, and Community Action Plans will be developed. With NCLI, we will jointly provide resources and technical assistance to city teams to successfully implement these Community Action Plans so that nature can be a part of the everyday lives of all children and families.
4 – Inspire Nature-Smart Leaders by Training and Empowering Millennial Youth
Train diverse young leaders (ages 18-29) to become Natural Leaders in their communities.The Natural Leaders Legacy Camp will continue the innovative intensive training for young diverse leaders focused on community organizing, outdoor leadership, public speaking, and outdoor event planning. Natural Leaders will develop Community Action Plans to create long-lasting impact through cross-sector coalition building. Along with our partners, we’ll create an action plan and implement a “Green Play to Green Pay” jobs initiative that will drive the integration of nature into a broad spectrum of professions and prepare a new workforce for these jobs.
5 – Engage Families in Outdoor Time in Nature Through Large-Scale Partnerships
We are building the Family Nature Clubs program through large-scale partnerships with organizations who align with the vision to get children outdoors and into nature. Working with those organizations who also seek to serve families in nature, we will increase family participation in the Natural Families Network and Nature Clubs for Families initiatives.
In our effort to engage families across the world, we are partnering with grassroots groups in China, France, Mexico, Canada, Australia and many other countries to make our Nature Clubs for Families Toolkit and other resources available in their native languages.
6 – Convene Change-Makers from Across the World
Host a Children & Nature Conference to Inspire the Movement—Austin, Texas, April 2015. We will design a new Children & Nature Conference that engages participants across sectors to propel the movement toward a wider and deeper impact in communities. Special topics and speakers relevant to leaders and change-makers will inspire new information, reveal new research, and allow more peer-to-peer grassroots support. Kicking off this year, this new conference will be held in a different region each year, allowing for participation by local leaders and featuring regional efforts.