In a recent British study by Go Ape, an outdoor adventure facility, surveyed 2,000 British parents and found that traditional outdoor activities may become a thing of the past. The study revealed that kids spend a minimum average of 14 hours a week on electronic devices during summer vacation.
In 2009, Rue Mapp founded Outdoor Afro, an organization that reconnects African Americans to the outdoors. Outdoor Afro uses social media and volunteers to organize outdoor recreational activities for African-Americans all over the country. After just six years there are 30 trained leaders and 7,000 active members in cities across the United States.
Edible Schoolyard NYC brings nature and healthy food to the kids who need it most: at underserved, low-income primary and middle schools with high immigrant populations. ESYNYC engages students in gardening and cooking. An average school lesson includes planning a meal, cultivating plants, harvesting, preparing and cooking, eating, and finally composting.
Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is co-sponsoring a community play program in Baton Rouge called Play Street. The program closes off streets to give children a chance to safely play outdoors where they wouldn’t normally think to do so; connecting the dots between outdoor play and children’s health.
First Lady MIchelle Obama and the U.S. Department of Interior selected Cleveland as one of 26 U.S. cities to participate in their Let’s Move Outside youth initiative. The initiative’s goal is to encourage youth to play, learn, serve and work outdoors.
Dr. Steve Schallhorn, leading refractive eye surgeon, chairman of the Optical Express International Medical Advisory Board and an adviser to Nasa, the FBI and Nato, states that any sort of outdoors exercise would be a major boost for a child’s developing vision.
As Detroit’s economy started to decline, local parks took a backseat to maintenance. That is until a dedicated group of community volunteers rolled up their sleeves to invest time and energy to revamp Detroit’s parks. Now the parks are unrecognizable, but in a good way.
Graduate students at Stanford University researched and compared the physiological differences between walking outside in natural settings versus walking in urban areas. The study shows that walking in nature can help us brood and worry less, by decreasing the activity and blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex of our brains.
New housing development, Botanika Nature Residences in the Philippines, will offer lush green spaces and landscapes to help children overcome nature deficit disorder. The development will include an expansive lawn with tree houses, landscaped pathways and specific areas to stimulate children’s minds. The first tower is anticipated to be complete in 2017.
Steven Kellert, former C&NN Board member and professor emeritus and senior research scholar at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in New Haven, is featured in a special issue of Nature this month. In it, he joins other leading design practitioners to explain how nature aids in early child development, and how architecture and play spaces are best engineered for learning.
National Parks struggle to attract visitors and employees of color or from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. In 2014, 80 percent of park service employees were white. By 2044 the Census Bureau projects that the country will have a majority nonwhite population. Writer Glenn Nelson hopes that the National Park Service is paying attention.
The North Face announced the final winners of the 2015 Explore Fund $500,000 grants program. The North Face Explore Fund chose 47 projects, like Latino Outdoors, that use outdoor exploration as the catalyst for positive, personal or societal change.