News Center Items by Priya Cook
The Alana Institute launches Family Nature Clubs (FNC) in Brazil, joining the worldwide natural families movement. Alana’s Family Nature Clubs are intended to engage parents and families from across Brazil in frequent and active time together in nature. A central goal of the FNCs is to learn what best applies to Brazil from family clubs in other countries while focusing on creating unique features that encompass Brazil’s specific cultural and social characteristics. One hundred participants will take part in training sessions in 2017.
The American Water Charitable Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association have partnered to support local nature-based play areas in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California. The grants, totaling nearly 500 million dollars, are part of the Foundation’s Building Better Communities signature grant program, administered by the National Recreation and Park Association. Specifically, this initiative concentrates on building or enhancing nature-based playgrounds and play spaces for children, and will connect and educate people on environmental stewardship practices related to water and other natural resources.
A survey conducted by the non-profit ecoAmerica found that over nine in ten Americans agree, with well over half of them strongly agreeing, that we should talk to children about a future with thriving, healthy nature . The June 2017 American Climate Perspectives Survey also found that two-thirds of Americans strongly agree that spending time in nature is important for children’s physical and mental health. In addition, a growing majority surveyed believe that we have a moral responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy climate for our children.
A bipartisan bill, the Every Kid Outdoors Act, was introduced by members of Congress this week, signaling a commitment to connect our children to the natural world outdoors. If passed, the legislation will provide 4th graders with free entry to all national parks. The bill aims to get kids outdoors and also encourages more public and private partnerships between federal lands, schools and private and nonprofit organizations.
U.S. cities are increasingly making an effort to distribute urban recreation resources more fairly. To determine if cities are adequately serving their low-income communities, the Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) ParkScore rating ranks cities based on spending, acreage, and household access—whether there is a park within a ten-minute walk for those who make less than 75 percent of a city’s median income. In TPL’s most recent rankings, San Francisco came in at the top-ranked city.
Kids who spend more time outdoors and who play sports are less likely to be near-sighted, according to a recent study in a large, diverse group of urban 6-year-olds. The researchers looked at 5,711 children in Rotterdam who have been participating since birth, along with their mothers, in the long-term study.
Researchers from the University of Technology in Sydney and Macquarie University have been studying the effects of Risk Deficit Disorder, which they describe as the growing and unhealthy trend of attempting to remove all risk from within our community and the problems that this risk removal indirectly creates. The researchers found that children who were not allowed to engage in risky play were likely to face problems with their weight, mental health, independence, learning, perception and judgment skills.