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News Center Items by David Marquardt & Catherine Zietse

Philadelphia’s Campaign to Reinvigorate its Parks and Playgrounds

The city of Philadelphia is investing $500 million to reinvigorate its parks, libraries, playgrounds and recreation centers, and spread opportunity into all corners of the city. The program, called “Rebuild,” is paid for in part by a new tax on sugar-laden drinks. Philadelphia is the first big city to pass such a “soda tax” bill.

The World’s Biggest Nature-Inspired Playground

What may be the world’s largest nature playground, located in Adelaide’s Morialta Conservation Park, is nearing completion. The state government is spending close to $1 million to build the new playground, which formed part of the government’s $10.4 million plan to improve Adelaide’s national parks. The $900,000 space will include five new play areas, climbing boulders, and new paths.

Some Vermont Doctors to Prescribe State Parks for Exercise

Working in collaboration with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, some Vermont doctors are writing prescriptions to get more people outside and exercising. The “Park Prescription” program, designed to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent chronic health issues in patients and their families by encouraging exercise at state parks, offers a free pass to any Vermont State Park.

Salzburg Global Fellows from “The Child in the City” Program Publishes Statement on Importance of Parks and Play for Children’s Health

The Salzburg Global Fellows, a group of experts in urban planning, childhood development, conservation, environmental policy, and health, have called on leaders to ensure all children enjoy the right to safe, free play in a nature-rich space within a 10-minute walk from home. The call to action was part of a larger Salzburg Statement which outlines policies, practices, investments as well as actions that can transform cities for children. The Salzburg Global program The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play is part of the multi-year Parks for the Planet Forum, a series held in partnership with the IUCN and Huffington Foundation.

Israel’s First Outdoor Preschool Inspires Others

Israel’s first forest kindergarten is inspiring a forest school movement in the country. The school, Gan Keshet, which means “rainbow kindergarten” in Hebrew, is a public school in the remote town of Mitzpe Ramon. After the ministry of education designated it an official model school, hundreds of educators, students and parents have flocked to the school to learn about its approach. Several private forest kindergartens opened in Israel this school year, and more public pilots are planned for next year.

UN Links Child-Friendliness to Environment

A report from The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding its General Discussion Day on children and the environment makes links between children’s freedom to play, and their ability to enjoy a healthy, sustainable environment. The report calls on municipalities to do more to protect these important children’s rights and for governments to use planning regulations to ensure “the play and child-friendliness of all environments.”

National Get Outdoors Day Celebrated Across the US

Saturday, June 10, 2017, marks the 10th annual “National Get Outdoors Day” (GO Day). The event is intended to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun at sites across the nation. Participants from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and the recreation industry will offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities. Key goals of the day are reaching currently underserved populations as well as first-time visitors to public lands, and reconnecting youth to the great outdoors. Along with several state parks, the U.S. Forest Service is waiving fees at their day-use recreation sites on Saturday for “National Get Outdoors Day.”

The Child and Nature Movement Grows in Brazil

The Brazil-based Alana Institute will host “II Children and Nature Seminar” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 20th. The event brings experts together to talk about how schools, cities and public spaces can encourage children’s encounters with nature by reorganizing time, transposing walls, and shaping adult’s perspectives. Tijuca National Park is a partnering organization for the event.

Indiana Celebrates Nature Play Days Week

Indiana celebrates Nature Play Days Week from June 10-18. The event, sponsored by the Indiana Children and Nature Network, is intended to encourage families to play outdoors and reap the physical, mental, and emotional benefits nature play provides. The primary goal of Nature Play Days is to reconnect children with the outdoors and provide a space for outdoor exploration and fun. Across Indiana over 100 events will be offered free of charge at nature centers, museums, libraries, and parks.

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