A University of Wollongong (UOW) researcher will examine whether urban green spaces play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Astell-Burt will collaborate with city and green space planners, clinicians and other leading international researchers to look at the possible benefits of nature for Alzheimer’s disease. Astell-Burt says that, while knowledge of the general health benefits of green spaces is growing, there has been little epidemiological investigation into green spaces in relation to Alzheimer’s disease.
News Center Items by Robert Michael Pyle
The NSF-funded Science of Nature-Based Learning Collaborative Research Network will publish a special issue of the open-access journal “Frontiers” on the field of learning and nature. The journal will be curated by Network members, titled “The Natural World as a Resource for Learning and Development: From Schoolyards to Wilderness.” Researchers are invited to submit papers to the journal.
Ireland’s National Heritage Week in August will feature “Wild Child Day” on Wednesday, August 23rd, to celebrate the importance of experiencing freedom in nature for children. The event is an effort to change attitudes and make families feel more at ease in the outdoors. A 2015 study “Children Outdoors” confirmed that a disconnection from nature is seen in both children and young parents across the island.
A survey of parents in Wales revealed that nearly a third of children under five (29 per cent) aren’t getting the time outdoors that they need. The same survey found that almost all parents in Wales (97 per cent) think it is important for their child to play outdoors every day. Based on the findings, the group Public Health Wales recommends that children play outdoors for at least three hours of active play per day.
A new study using GPS data from kids’ smartphones to track their movements found that youth spend less time in their neighborhoods if area residents have a high fear of crime. Researchers at The Ohio State University found that adolescents aged 11 to 17 spent over an hour less each day on average in their neighborhoods if residents there were very fearful, compared to kids from areas perceived as being safer. Higher fear of crime was linked to high-poverty neighborhoods.
To help address the problem of clothing and textile waste (85 percent of clothing and textiles in the United States ends up in landfills), Columbia Sportswear has relaunched the ReThreads program—a special initiative designed to simplify post-consumer recycling. From August 9th through September 10th, 2017, for every pound of clothing brought to a U.S. Columbia branded store and Outlet for recycling, Columbia will donate $1 to one of three charities. The Children & Nature Network is one of the three charities included in the program.
The company, Tinkergarten, which operates a network of outdoor-based classes for young children, recently raised $5.4 million from outside investors. Tinkergarten offers a play-based, outdoor-learning curriculum designed for children as young as 18 months to 8 years old. Tinkergarten is just the latest in a string of early-childhood startups that have raised venture capital this year.
Youth Outside, an organization which supports outdoor and environmental programs and organizations in northern and central California, has just released a case study on cultural relevancy, equity, and inclusion. The case study summarizes lessons learned by both Youth Outside and the program participants, and explores the potential of the model to support others in the field, in addition to a broader application in other sectors.
Australia will celebrate Outdoor Classroom Day on September 7th, a global movement in which millions of educators, kids and parents are expected to participate. With Australian kids spending less than two hours a day outdoors, the effort is designed to demonstrate the benefits of outdoor play and learning.