The end of summer shouldn’t mean the end of time outdoors for children. In this Associated Press piece, C&NNs Richard Louv and Sarah Milligan-Toffler discuss the importance of keeping nature experiences going, and how schools can offer bountiful opportunities to expose kids to nature.
As the National Park Service marks its 100th birthday this week, the agency has made an active push to engage two groups it’s had trouble connecting with in the past — kids and minorities. City Kids Wilderness Project, a DC-based non-profit organization aimed at getting inner-city youth off the streets and into the great outdoors, has had success helping the most vulnerable kids get out into nature.
A recent survey finds that 94% of parents would like schools to help their kids get outside and discover nature. The survey, conducted by the organic food company Nature’s Path, prompted the manufacturer to launch a free outdoor nature discovery program for schools and camps blending tactical hands-on discovery with geocaching.
The 100th birthday of the National Park Service (NPS) will be commemorated next week on August 25th. In honor of the centennial, the NPS will waive entrance fees at all 59 national parks across the country from August 25-28. Events will take place across the nation’s parks—including a U.S. citizenship and immigration service naturalization ceremony at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia and an evening of memorable performances at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
The nation’s first park with the specific goal of connecting children to nature recently opened in Indiana. The park, the Children of Indiana Nature Park, allows all k-12 students in Indiana to visit the park’s website to download a free deed with GPS coordinates to a specific area of the Children of Indiana Nature Park to visit.
Parents living in a condominium complex in Carmel Valley, CA win a lawsuit that claims the condo management discriminated against children with a policy forbidding children from playing outside without an adult. The families claimed that the condo management would send the children home if they were found playing outside unsupervised and would then serve an eviction notice to parents if the outdoor play continued. The two sides reached a settlement agreement that pays families up to $3,000.
A new study from the University of Southern California finds that urban teenagers who grow up with more green space in the vicinity of their homes are less likely to be aggressive. The researchers followed 1,287 adolescents from 640 families in the Greater Los Angeles region, both male and female, from mixed ethnic backgrounds over the time span of 2000 to 2012.
Eighteen youths participating in the Fresh Tracks Leadership Expedition learned how to surf on LA’s Zuma Beach with the Surfrider Foundation. The youths were also instructed in beach and ocean conservation. Hailing from Compton, LA and Alaska, the youths are participating in a unique leadership program that focuses on cultural sharing, education, service, preserving the environment and becoming leaders.
Over 10,000 homeless youth live in the Los Angeles area, surrounded by nature but a world apart from experiencing it. The Los Angeles Youth Network, LAYN, provides a safe place for the teens to live along with therapy, guidance—and now an outdoors program. A partnership with the org takes a group of homeless kids on their first-ever camping trip.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced her support for the “Save Outdoor School for All” ballot measure this week, stating that spending time outdoors is the best way bond with the natural environment and instill values of conservation in children. The measure highlights the importance of outdoor education for Oregon’s children. Oregon’s Outdoor School program has been recognized as a ground-breaking way to strengthen and preserve children’s connection to the natural world.