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News & Commentary In the News

Children & Nature Network Announces Launch of New Research Library and Research Digest

The Children & Nature Network announces the launch of its new online Research Library offering the latest peer-reviewed scientific literature about nature’s impact on children’s learning and healthy development. This expertly curated, free resource offers robust search functionality to help users find the evidence they need to make the case for increasing equitable access to nature.

Former First Lady Unveils New Health Initiative at Houston Methodist

Former first lady Laura Bush highlighted the decline in the amount of time that children spend outdoors today and the impact on their health during an address at “A Natural Connection: Exploring Positive Outcomes in Health & Healing through Nature”, an ongoing symposia focused on bringing awareness of natural resource issues to new audiences in both rural and urban areas. More than 250 statewide conservationists, business leaders, clinicians, and researchers attended the event at Houston Methodist.

Designing the Future of Play

50 organizations from across the United States will receive a grant to implement an innovative play space in their city through KaBOOM!, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting play in underserved communities. The winners of the grants will develop and install their innovative play space designs throughout the fall and spring.

Kids Who Play More Outdoors May Be Less Likely to Have Problems with Peers

Kids who spend more time outdoors seem to gain a boost in their peer relations, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. Overall, children who spent more time outdoors were less likely to have peer relationship problems and better psychosocial health, based on scores such as functioning and aggression.

Take a Child Outside Week

Take A Child Outside week starts tomorrow and runs through next week. The program, inspired by the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv, is designed to encourage children and adults to spend time together outdoors. Take A Child Outside week is an initiative of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and held in cooperation with partner organizations worldwide.

Authors Say Shielding Kids From Dirt May Not Make Them Healthier

A new book “Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World” suggests that children should be allowed to get dirty when they play. The book’s authors present evidence that suggests that keeping children too clean shields them from certain microbes that are essential for a healthy immune system.

Association of Zoos and Aquariums Awards 44 Nature Play Grants

With support from the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoos and aquariums will receive a combined total of $270,000 to encourage family nature play and conservation education. The Nature Play grants are intended to provide financial, logistical and creative support to increase or enhance family-centered nature experiences in communities. The program is a partnership with the Children & Nature Network, building on its successful Family Nature Club initiative.

Planning a Grassroots Park in St. Paul

A park is St. Paul is showing its true grassroots. The park in the St. Paul’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood is being designed by the local community as well as students at nearby Gordon Parks High School with the goal that the park reflect the needs and desires of the local community, rather than a central park planner. The park is expected to open sometime in 2019.

Creating and Strengthening Park Prescription Programs

Park Prescriptions, programs designed in collaboration with healthcare providers and community partners that utilize parks, trails, and open space for the purpose of improving individual and community health, are becoming more popular around the country. To educate about the program, the National ParkRx Initiative will host a series of free webinars throughout the fall. The National ParkRx Initiative is led by NRPA, the Institute at the Golden Gate and the National Park Service.

Kindergarten, Naturally

With increasing awareness of the benefits of natural play for the psychological and physical health of children, the forest school movement is growing around the world. From publicly-funded forest kindergartens in Finland to a wave of forest school programs in New England, more children are experiencing the benefits of natural play in early childhood through these programs.

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