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News & Commentary In the News

White House Hosts “Roundtable on Diversity, Youth, and the Outdoors”

Compton and Alaska Native youth leaders from Fresh Tracks Leadership Expeditions joined Compton, CA Mayor Aja Brown and the First Lady of Washington State, Trudi Inslee, at the White House this week as featured participants in the Roundtable on Diversity, Youth & the Outdoors. C&NN leadership also joined the Roundtable, along with other nonprofits, foundations, and corporations focused on programs that use the outdoors as a platform for leadership development.

House Passes National Park Service Centennial Bill

The House has passed a bill to mark the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS) and expand programming within the department. The bipartisan bill aims to attract private donations to match government spending on National Park projects. The House passed the bill on a unanimous voice vote Tuesday. The legislation will help the Park Service tackle problems like a maintenance backlog and fund infrastructure projects.

Dallas is Building One of America’s Biggest Urban Nature Parks

Dallas is about to become known as one of America’s greenest cities. The city will soon claim America’s largest urban nature park with a new “Nature District” that will comprise a staggering 10,000 acres, over 10 times the size of New York’s Central Park. The area includes 7,000 acres of an area called the Great Trinity Forest.

Canadian School Wins Green Playground Support

The Victoria School in Saskatchewan is one of 110 schools in Canada that has received support for “greener playgrounds” from the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds (TELG) program. The school received $1,100 from the program for the purchase of seeds, seedlings, tools to support its work with food as a life skill and teaching tool and for the walkway for the wheelchair accessible playground.

Outdoor Industry Will be Added to the Calculus of the Nation’s GDP

The United States Senate has passed the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act in a unanimous and bipartisan vote. The bill will include the economic impact of the outdoor industry in the federal government’s annual tally of the gross domestic product. Makers of outdoor gear, retailers and recreation providers for the first time will be part of the federal government’s annual assessment of the national economy, marking what the outdoor industry hopes is a shift from being important to essential.

Remembering Stephen Kellert, ‘Biophilia’ Pioneer and Revered Mentor

Stephen R. Kellert, Ph.D., a revered professor of social ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies whose research and writing advanced the understanding of the connection between humans and the natural world, died on Nov. 27 after a long illness. Dr. Kellert was a former Children & Nature Network board member and a seminal scholar of the children and nature movement.

Outdoors Alliance for Kids Announces Inaugural OAK Leaf Awards

The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) recently presented five recipients with the inaugural OAK Leaf Award, which recognizes alliance members for their leadership and collaboration ​in connecting kids with nature. The Children & Nature Network and National League of Cities received an award on behalf of “Cities Connecting Children to Nature” initiative partners. Additional honorees included REI, The North Face and National Park Trust.

Playgrounds for an Aging Population

Long popular in China, Japan and parts of Europe and Latin America, multigenerational playgrounds are growing across the U.S. as organizations and municipalities cater to the needs of an aging populace. The playgrounds tend to feature low-impact, joint-friendly equipment. In the past few years, KaBOOM, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that helps communities create play facilities, has built more than 50 multigenerational playgrounds.

A Walking Movement is Energizing African American Women

The organization GirlTrek has inspired a walking movement of Africa American girls and women. The movement, which has grown to 80,000 nationwide, grew out of concern for the health and lives of black women.

Swiss Children Not Spending Enough Time Outdoors

A new report commissioned by the Swiss children’s foundation Pro Juventute reveals that children in Switzerland get little or no time to play outside without adult supervision. The report highlights a historical decline in outdoor activity as children in the 1970s were active outdoors for three to four hours a day, while today, some children in Switzerland are spending only 20 minutes outdoors.

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