The Trust for Public Land will unveil a new, interactive platform that tracks urban park access nationwide, in spring 2017. When completed in 2018, the platform, called ParkServe, will include data from 13,931 cities and towns across the U.S., covering more than 80% of the U.S. population. The web-based tool will let people locate the park nearest to them, determine the percentage of residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a local park, and identify the neighborhoods most in need of new parks.
Miami Valley will host a Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside Summit on March 11th, inviting teachers, industry professionals and families to come together to discover new ways to connect children to nature. This year’s summit is the sixth annual Leave No Child Inside Summit.
The city of Gary, Indiana is considering a reduction of its total number of parks, while revamping some that have been neglected for a long time. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the parks are being examined to see whether they are actually serving the residents in light of the decreased population of the city. Parks Superintendent McKenya Dilworth said as many as 20 of the city’s 57 parks could be allowed to revert to their natural state, adding that any decision would be made in consultation with the council and residents.
New plans are underway in Milwaukee for a new, super-green park intended for communities and families. The park, which will be built on a vacant lot, will be a “storm water park” that is sustainable and eco-friendly. The project is being overseen by the city’s Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO) through a public-private partnership run by the ECO, which converts vacant lots into healthy green spaces to drive economic development and job creation and improve quality of life. Since the partnership started in 2014, the group has created 30 new pocket parks, orchards, and community gardens from more than 50 vacant lots.
School gardens are on the rise in the United States with more than 7,000 school gardens growing across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School census. Organizations and studies report a list of long list of benefits to school gardens including an increase in students’ standardized test scores, greater nutrition awareness and reduced symptoms of ADD, ADHD and stress.
A recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), a network of more than 52,000 park and recreation professionals and advocates, reaffirms that Americans are passionate about the preservation of public lands, such as local, state and national parks, making the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund an even bigger priority for lawmakers and the new administration.
Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine showed that Americans who use their local parks or participated in recreation programs offered by local park and recreation agencies are more likely to report high levels of health.The research stems from data collected in 1991 and 2015 as part of a broader look at Americans’ use and perceptions of local parks and recreation services. Both studies were commissioned by the National Recreation and Park Association.
Finland celebrates its 100th anniversary as an independent nation this year by inviting everyone to go outside and take advantage of the country’s beautiful nature. The country is promoting a national event called four “Nature Days” featuring one Nature Day per season, promoting outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, birdwatching, swimming and more.
According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, household pets may have a major influence on child development and could have a positive impact on children’s social skills and emotional well-being. The study, which surveyed 12-year-olds from 77 families who had at least one pet and more than one child in the household, demonstrated lower levels of conflict and greater levels of satisfaction in children who had dogs versus other types of pets.
High schoolers tending to miniature goats; preschoolers pumping water to irrigate gardens; third graders building forts from sticks. Students in a growing number of Atlanta-area schools are heading outdoors to learn as the area is seeing an upsurge in interest in nature-based learning.